The management of local businesses (confirmed by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which operates the plant) in the neighborhood of Astoria, New York City, USA have decided to ban the feeding of feral cats as part of a longstanding trap-neuter-return program because the food attracts coyotes. They say that the ban on feeding the feral cat colony of 25 cats at the Bowery Bay plant near the East River is “bad ecology” and they have to comply with intructions from city and state wildlife experts.
“The coyotes pose a potential threat to our employees and members of the community, including children who use nearby baseball fields,” the Port Authority said.
The union workers and management decided that the coyotes were not a treat to workers.
Paul Santell (@Paulthecatguy) has been looking after the colony for two years under a project he calls the “Main Industrial Site”. He is the main feeder and a few workers contribute. The demand to stop feeding the cats inevitably means the cats are not eating.
Santell has been successful in his TNR program. In two years nearly all of the cats have been neuthered. Numbers have halved to 24. Several have been adopted.
Santell argues the following points:
- The cats were there first
- The industries there welcome the cats as rat catchers/deterents.
- The coyotes should be trapped and relocated. By contrast the city want to trap and kill them. This resulted in a plans for a protest by animal advocates.
- The coyotes are drawn to the area by food related businesses. Therefore banning the feeding of feral cats will not have the desired effect.
An online petition to save the feral cat colony has 1,500 signatures after one day.