The population of the internationally known cats on ‘Cat Island’ which is actually Ao Island (Aoshima), has declined sharply of late from 90 individuals in 2014 to around 30 today, I am told by The Telegraph newspaper.
It is believed that they have been poisoned. Witnesses state that they they have seen fish at many places on the island which appeared to have been laced with a blue coloured substance (a pharmaceutical chemical). And there are also accounts of cats foaming at the mouth and collapsing.
As long ago as Sept 2017 five cats were seen dying or dead in a small area near the harbour.
The person in charge of neutering the cats, Kunihisa Sagami, director of Doubutukikin, said:
“It’s not a normal decrease, and there’s no doubt that an outside, human element, such as animal cruelty, is causing it..”
It appears that tests might be carried out on the food to check for poison and if confirmed it will be used as evidence in a possible criminal trial should they be able to find the perpetrator.
Comment: It is remarkable that someone on the island (the most likely perpetrator) wants to destroy the tourist trade which appears to be largely based on the cats.
It is sad that behind the veneer of entertainment and fascination provided by the cats on Ao Island there is evil, maliciousness and a criminal mind. These cats were largely TNR’d. Their population was stable and probably declining anyway so why poison them?
Clearly for some they are a smelly nuisance rather than an attraction and reducing their numbers humanely though TNR is not fast enough.