Australian cats kill millions every yearwild animals. This is not only about pests like mice and rats - there are a lot of rare birds and mammals on this continent and not found elsewhere. Local conservationists are trying to save the animals in a variety of ways: in some states, a reward is given for the destruction of wild cats, and pets are forced to be kept indoors under the threat of a large fine. In 2017, researchers from the University of South Australia proposed a rather brutal way to deal with wild cats - capsules with toxic contents will be implanted into the bodies of their potential victims. They are safe for carriers thanks to the polymer coating, but they are deadly for attacking feral cats.
Why are there a lot of cats in Australia?
Cats pose a danger to Australiananimals because it is not their homeland. They were brought to the mainland about 200 years ago by European settlers. The abundance of light food such as rodents, birds and other small creatures has led to the fact that cats have multiplied and now there are more than 20 million of them. They actively hunt many animals unique to Australia - 29 species have already completely disappeared due to cats, and a hundred more are on the verge of extinction. Because of this, the authorities do not spare furry creatures and encourages their mass extermination in Australia.
Fighting cats in Australia
A new way of dealing with wild cats wasdescribed on the website of the Ecological Society of Australia. Biologist David Peacock once noticed several dead cats. It turned out that they were poisoned by a plant called Gastrolobium, which accumulates sodium fluoroacetate... This poisonous substance is also known as "1080"and has long been used to bait stray dogs and cats. Moreover, it is harmless for most Australian animals, because in the course of evolution they have developed immunity to the effects of the gastrolobium plant. The scientist wondered - what if you use it against Australian cats?
In fact, conservationists have already triedset poisonous cat traps. But the disadvantage of this method is that these traps do not always attract predators. Therefore, the authors of the new scientific work decided to use live targets - capsules with the poison "1080" can be implanted into the bodies of animals that are hunted by cats. Yes, in the event of an attack, the animal will not survive, but the number of wild cats will at least slightly decrease. The idea was hatched for several years and recently researchers finally received a grant from the Australian Wildlife Society.
At the moment, scientists have implanted poisonouscapsules into the bodies of 30 rabbit bandicoots (Macrotis). They assure that the tiny capsule does not in any way interfere with the animals' normal life. In its properties, it is similar to a capsule with fish oil - the shell does not react to blood and muscles, but once it is in the acidic environment of the feline digestive system, it quickly releases toxic substances. For some time, scientists will monitor the "chipped" bandicoots. If the method of dealing with cats proves to be effective, it will be applied more actively.
See also: Kangaroos began to harm the nature of Australia. What to do about it?
Why is Australia's nature dying?
It is important to note that Australian naturenot only cats are threatening. I recently talked about how the local authorities decided to shoot 10,000 wild horses. These are the Brumby horses, which are the descendants of the very first horses in Australia. They are not predators, but they do enormous damage to wetlands. And these territories were already very badly damaged during the forest fires, which we mentioned in this article.
Cats and horses are not everything.The Australian mainland also has a lot of rats, so in early 2021, the government killed 350,000 rodents with poisoned grain pellets. It would seem that the problem of the destruction of grain crops by rodents should have been solved, but not everything is so simple. Gizmodo recently reported that they are back. It would be nice if cats hunted rats and did not touch rare animals. But their instincts, unfortunately, cannot be ordered.
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