Feral cats preying on Leadbeater’s possum; balanced headlines required

Feral cat hounding a Leadbeater's possum
Feral cat hounding a Leadbeater’s possum. Credit: University of Melbourne.
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We need balanced headlines on the story about feral cats preying on the rare and endangered Leadbeater’s possum, a tiny creature living in ‘tall wet forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands’.

Phys.org leads with a disturbing headline ‘Evidence that feral cats are preying on the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum‘ which is bound to get the feral cat cull advocates all fired up again.

Yet when you read on there is an admission that:

  • There is no clear evidence that feral cats are routinely feeding on this endangered possum. The stomach contents and scats of two cats contained the remains of the possum but these might be isolated incidents. Or perhaps the possums were dead already and the cats fed on carcasses.
  • Habitat loss for the possum is the main reason for its population decline
  • Degradation of its habitat due to bushfires is another reason for the endangerment of this species of possum and;
  • Degradation of its habitat due to timber harvesting is another reason for the decline in its population size.

The conclusion is that (1) feral cats might be taking some Leadbeater’s possums while (2) human activity is a certain reason for making the survival of this species uncertain.

The headline is misleading. A lot of internet users just read headlines and the first paragraph. And if you read those two elements of the Phys.org article you come away with the ‘fact’ (no) that feral cats are doing more damage to Aussie native species.

Until now feral cats have not been considered a threat to this species of possum. The camera trap image is of a feral cats on top of a man made box for Leadbeater’s possums. Might it have been a good idea to have ensured that feral cats were did not inhabit this particular area of the forest? Or to build boxes which prevent access by cats?

Perhaps the nesting boxes put the possums at risk? If that were the case it means yet more human activity is endangering this possum.

Leadbeater’s possum feeds off the ground while cats normally feed on the ground. This protects them. The state of Victoria, Australia is about to declare the feral cat a pest under the Victorian Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. This will no doubt mean mass culls anyway possible; humane or not, it makes to difference.

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2 thoughts on “Feral cats preying on Leadbeater’s possum; balanced headlines required”

  1. Toxoplasma gondii is also deadly to all marsupials. Cats don’t even have to kill them directly, your cats are killing off all marsupials around the world with their feces, even those marsupials contained in zoos. As well your killing all native wildcat species around the world infected with deadly feline diseases being spread worldwide by your stray house-cats. Toxoplasma gondii is not only deadly to all marsupials, there are whole genre of other species that are dying off all over the world from your cats’ parasite (dolphins, whales, otters, seals, etc.). You are even killing-off all inland otters in the UK from your cats’ parasites. Are you worried that there may not be enough house-cats to go around? You’re willing to drive yet another species to extinction with your ignorance and stupidity like you did your own Scottish Wildcat? (Habitat loss and hunters had nothing to do with that, your house-cats alone drove them to extinction.) Of course you are willing and even glad to drive yet another species to extinction. The cat-shat brain-hijacking parasites that are now in control of your every thought and word are demanding that you find reasons to procreate and save-at-all-costs this parasite’s required host species–even if your reasons go against all science, common sense, and logic. It is what you are now and there’s nothing you can do to stop it or change it. Your thoughts and reason for living are no longer yours, they belong to a parasite in control of your mind. You speak only for a brain-hijacking parasite now … nothing more, nothing less. Your every article you write proves this without one doubt left.

    • I have one dearly held wish: that you become infected with toxoplasma gondii and are driven mad – correction, you already there. No more comments from you. I don’t publish comments from people who are as mad as a broomstick.


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