Dr. Guy Ballard is a research officer and lecturer. He supervises PhD students. He got his doctorate at The School of Environmental and Rural Science (ERS) at the University of New England (AU), New South Wales, Australia. Okay, he is an experienced, and I’d say, a respected scientist with a lot of specialist experience of non-native species and their impact on wildlife in Australia. This is a very hot topic down under and Dr Ballard is at the centre of it.
I would suggest that what he says carries some weight and he says this:
“We’ve seen a cat take a juvenile threatened bush tail wallaby — just grabbed it and ran. Some of the cats we have seen are as big as foxes, and they are eating everything from mammals to birds to reptiles….It is not their fault they are a problem, it is ours.”
I am delighted to read this because it is (a) the first time I have noticed an Australian in authority regarding non-native species accept that the feral cat problem is a human problem and (b) I have been saying this for years.
The fact that it is a human problem changes the way people go about trying to resolve the problem. It means that the methods employed to reduce feral cat population sizes must be humane and decent. If they are not there is an ethical and moral issue to contend with.
People who are concerned about the presence of feral cats have a strong obligation to relate to them in a humane manner. Let’s see it happen and let’s see the Australian authorities stop talking about the mass extermination of a large proportion of the cats with poison or guns. That is a ridiculous notion and a politician dreamt it up.
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