NEWS AND COMMENT-KANGAROO ISLAND, AUSTRALIA: The headline on the online version of the Independent newspaper is: “Tiny marsupial that survived wildfires now under threat by feral cats”. The headline is based upon research from the University of Adelaide in Australia. I am unable to read that research because I don’t have access to it and I can only read the headline on the Independent newspaper because I don’t subscribe to it but the headline is clear namely that feral cats are a major threat to this marsupial and the they can cause the extinction, in the wild, of this critically endangered native species of Australia.
Once again, the Australian scientists are blaming the feral cats for all their woes and the threatened extinction of their native species. But when you dig around you find an entirely different story. That’s why I am confident that the journalist writing on the Independent newspaper is painting an entirely inaccurate picture, which should not surprise me as they (Australians and the Independent) do it all the time in my opinion.
If you want to know about the threats to extinction in the wild of any species you go to the true experts and they are those that write for the IUCN Red List.
The real reason why the KI dunnart is threatened
They state that the Kangaroo Island Dunnart is under threat of extinction in the wild by a single potential catastrophic event because although they are known from 6 trapping sites they should be treated as one location in terms of the Red List.
They state that wildfires are the greatest potential threat facing the dunnarts of Kangaroo Island. A single wildfire could eliminate the species. I understand that a wildfire almost nearly achieved this earlier but the species is still subject to that possibility. And they state that “inappropriate fires management exacerbates the potential for an extensive fire”. They are stating that inappropriate management of fires has taken place and will take place.
And they say that another threat to Kangaroo Island Dunnarts is a water mould, Phytophthora cinnamomi. This mould destroys many heath species in the area where this species of dunnart lives and therefore it results in “general changes in habitat structure that probably affects the species”.
Then they mention feral cats by stating that they “may also be affected by introduce cats, although their impact is not well known”. That statement is nowhere near the statement in the headline on the Independent newspaper.
And they also state that the “preferred habitat of the species has been degraded by stock grazing, weeds, and other processes associated with fragmentation, such as land clearance for agriculture”. So, their habitat is being destroyed by people. That is my interpretation.
I think that you can see that I’m correct when I say that the journalist writing for the Independent, Vishwam Sankaran, is misleading the public in their headline. There are many other potential threats to the extinction of this marsupial one of which MAY be feral cats. It would not surprise me if this journalist was in contact with the researchers on the phone and they’ve deliberately concocted this biased article because the Australian scientists and authorities will do all they can to malign feral cats living on their continent, which are only there because of human carelessness.
The Independent newspaper is a heavily biased newspaper, far to the left which always produces bias in reporting in my opinion. Below are some more articles on killing feral cats, something the Aussies are expert at.