Well-Intentioned People Should Not Interfere with Volunteers Conducting TNR Programs

There is an interesting story in The Mercury News online. There is a feral cat colony along the Los Gatos Creek Trail in Campbell. It has been managed for nearly 20 years in the usual way by volunteers. They feed the cats daily for a period of time and then bring the food back in, we are told.

We are also informed that well-intentioned people on the trail sometimes leave small piles of cat food for the cats. They are called “rogue feeders”.

A lot of people think that feeding feral cats causes problems even though it is part of a TNR program. They believe that it attracts other wildlife and in this instance residents and businesses in the area have complained of skunks and other animals coming into the area looking for cat food that’s been left out.

Those in charge of the TNR program want rogue feeders to desist for this reason. They are being careful when feeding the cats and their efforts are undermined by visitors.

The comments on the page in question are almost a hundred percent against this feral cat colony and TNR. One commenter believes that feral cat should be removed altogether from wildlife areas for obvious reasons. Another commenter argues that over 20 years the feral cat colony should have diminished to near zero. I get that argument but it may well be that other cats have been abandon there. However, TNR program should show signs of success in terms of a reduction in population size. However others will argue that TNR ‘stabilizes’ the numbers (prevents an increase).

Another person says that people have empathy for the cats but not for the wildlife (a poor argument). While a fourth says that “cat nuts” are doing more harm than good. Do you think that there should be a feral cat colony on a wildlife trail? It is important that TNR programs demonstrate successful management of cat colonies.

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