by Robert Paul Hudson
This ridiculous war between bird conservationists and feral cat activists has to STOP. When the RSPB eradicated cat populations on a remote British island in 2002 it was hailed as a grand victory to protect an endangered seacoast tern and other shore birds.
Hundreds of feral cats were trapped and put down or poisoned on Ascension Island, a UK Overseas Territory in the south Atlantic, while pet cats were neutered and registered in an all out effort to save the shore bird.
Then something unforseen happened: The bird population bounced back, but so did that rat population on the small island.
Rat numbers have ‘exploded’, according to Dr Jim Reynolds of the University of Birmingham, and increasingly big rats have been eating sooty tern chicks and eggs.
Dr Reynolds, of the Centre for Ornithology, believes that rats are attacking chicks which are already weakened by falling fish stocks, forcing them to turn to less nutritious squid.
In the background are these dietary problems which have been around for 20 – 30 years, where chicks are weak because they are eating nutritionally poor food, but we now also have a new predator, rats, which we didn’t have before, and the problem is that they kill the terns at an early age,” said Dr Reynolds, whose team is planning to radio-tag rats to monitor their location.
Hundreds of cats killed in the most horrible and inhumane way in a bogus attempt to save birds that are dying out because of poor diet in their habitat. Nature has a way of doing its own culling without our help. Thousands of animal species have died out over time without our help, and while we need to take responsibility over the enviornment and how we upset the balance of nature, we should not presume to understand it.