Thursday, July 18, 2019 05:57:52 PM
Kelly-Leigh Cooper :
A small village on the southern coast of New Zealand is planning to implement a radical plan to protect its native wildlife: ban all domestic cats.
Under the initiative, proposed by Environment Southland, cat owners in Omaui will have to neuter, microchip and register their moggies with local authorities.
After their pet dies, cat lovers in the community will then not be allowed to get any more.
It sounds extreme, but it may be something more communities should be considering: after all, cats are responsible for the death of billions of birds and mammals each year - and, according to some, it is all our fault.
Dr Peter Marra, the head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre, has authored journals and books on the issue.
Contrary to preconceptions about him, he insists he is not anti-cat or against cat ownership.
"Cats make wonderful pets - they're spectacular pets! But they shouldn't be allowed to roam outside - it's a really obvious solution," he told the BBC.
"We would never let dogs do that. It's about time we treat cats like dogs."
In Omaui, officials say the measure is justified because cameras have shown roaming cats preying on birds, insects and reptiles in the area.
"So your cat can live out its natural life at Omaui happily doing what it's doing. But then when it dies, you wouldn't be able to replace it," bio-security operations manager Ali Meade explained.
Under the plan, anyone not complying would receive a notice, before officials would remove the pets - but only as an "absolute last resort".
The initiative is part of the regional council's proposed regional pest management plan, which was opened for consultation on Tuesday.
John Collins, chairman of the Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust, championed the ban to protect "high-value" nature reserves there.
'We're not cat haters, but we want our environment to be wildlife-rich," he said, the Otago Daily Times reports.
How big a problem are cats?
The debate about cat populations and local eco-systems is not unique to Omaui.
Conservation scientists have long warned about the impact of feral and outdoor cats on the global eco system - and they've been ranked among the 100 worst non-native invasive species in the world.
Dr Marra says 63 species extinctions around the world are now linked to the booming cat populations. The problem is exacerbated in areas with very sensitive eco-systems, like New Zealand.
"It sounds extreme," he says. "But the situation has got out of control."
He believes cat-lovers around the world need to embrace a "different mind-set" toward the animals. He believes they should be adopted where possible, then neutered and exercised at home using toys, or in a controlled environment - for example, on a leash.
"This predicament is not the fault of cats - it's humans' fault," he insists.
Because of their popularity on social media and in memes, the global pet population shows no sign of abating.
"They are just cute - everything about them, which makes this whole thing more difficult."
Accurate estimates are hard to ascertain, but in the US there are about 86 million pet cats - roughly one in every three households.
Unquantifiable amounts live stray or feral, meaning huge casualties in the environment. It is estimated that as many as four billion birds and 22 billion mammals are killed by cats in the US every year.
Even in the UK, populations are on the decline, and experts blame cats. The Mammal Society says that about 55 million birds are falling casualty each year.
It's not the first time cats have been painted as a menace in New Zealand - a country boasting a feline in almost half its households.
They're a hot issue in Australia too, where feral and outdoor cats are blamed for millions of native species' deaths every night.
The nation has been funding grassroots culling initiatives since 2015, boasts the world's largest cat-proof fence and has even considered introducing a national curfew for domestic cats.
Councils and state governments have been taking the cat problem into their own hands - forcing cats to stay indoors at night, implementing household quotas and mandatory identification and neutering.
Nevertheless, initiatives against felines remain controversial. Last year animal rights groups laid particular scorn at one Queensland local council who were offering $10 bounties for feral cat scalps.
In Omaui, residents told local media they were "shocked" and "hoodwinked" by the proposed ban and have vowed to resist it.
Nico Jarvis, a local resident who says her three cats help combat rodents in her house, compared the proposal to a "police state".
"It's not even regulating people's ability to have a cat. It's saying you can't have a cat," she told the Otago Daily Times.
Paw Justice, a New Zealand-based non-profit that focuses on animal abuse, posted about the plan on Facebook, questioning the evidence behind it.
Cat-lovers on the group's Facebook page reacted angrily to the news and pointing out that poisons, cars and humans also damage native species.
Local residents have until the end of October to register their submissions to Environment Southland's plan.
THE results of this year's Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations under country's 10 education boards were announced yesterday where the combined pass rate rose by 7. 29 percent - that means it's now 73.93 per cent from last year's 66.64 per cent. The number of GPA-5 achievers in the ...
PTI, Beijing : China has gifted a warship to Sri Lanka, in the latest sign of its deepening military cooperation with the strategically located island nation in the Indian Ocean. Also, China's rolling-stock manufacturer has announced that it would shortly deliver nine "new type" of diesel trains to Sri Lanka.The China-gifted ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Gleaming model and actress Peya Bipasha has recently acted in an Eid telefilm titled Opekkha under the direction of Maksudur Rahman Bishal. This was Peya’s first work for the upcoming Eid. In the telefilm, Peya Bipasha will be seen against Emon on the screen. Promising TV actress ...
A newly-married couple and eight others of the bridal party were killed when a Dhaka-bound train rammed their microbus at an unmanned level crossing in Sirajganj's Ullapara upazila on Monday evening. The fatal accident has spoiled unmet dream of the couple. It's due to utter negligence of the Railway Authorities ...
AP, Buenos Aires :Lionel Messi should apologize for his harsh comments at the Copa America in order to avoid a sanction, an Argentine member of sport's highest court said on Monday.Following defeats in the last two finals, Messi had another frustrating end to the tournament when he was sent off ...
AP, New York :Government restrictions on religion have increased markedly in many places around the world, not only in authoritarian countries, but also in many of Europe's democracies, according to a report surveying 198 countries that was released Monday.The report released by the Pew Research Center, covering developments through 2017, ...
AFP, Istanbul :President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday hailed the controversial delivery of a Russian missile defence system despite the threat of US sanctions, as Turkey marked the third anniversary of a bloody coup attempt.Just days before the anniversary, the first batch of the Russian S-400 defence system was delivered ...
Economic Reporter :HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, launched Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 2.2 in Bangladesh.The Launching ceremony was held at a city hotel on Tuesday. Farhan Rashid, Head of Business of HMD Global Bangladesh, Raquibul Kabir, Managing Director of Union Group, Syed MostahidalHoq, Managing Director of Daraz Bangladesh ...
Actor Lea Michele is set to star in ABC's Christmas movie titled Same Time, Next Christmas. In the movie, the Glee alum will play Olivia Henderson, a young woman who meets her childhood sweetheart during her family's annual Christmas visit to Hawaii. After being separated by distance and time, the ...
Actress Amala Paul, who is awaiting the release of her upcoming film 'Aadai' on July 19, has revealed that she is in a relationship. It is to be noted that the pretty actress fell in love with Director Vijay while working for 'Deiva Thirumagal' and the duo got married in ...
England won the World Cup for the first time after beating New Zealand in Sunday's thrilling final at Lord's, bringing the curtain down on a dramatic event featuring some superb individual performances.AFP Sport names its team of the tournament:Rohit Sharma (India)The 32-year-old emerged as the tournament's star batsman, making history ...
Ben Stokes has been saying sorry a lot lately. His latest apology was to the people of New Zealand for one of the most outrageous sporting flukes that contributed to England winning the Cricket World Cup at the expense of the country of his birth.Stokes had already broken New Zealand ...
British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt sought to ease tensions with Iran on Saturday, saying a tanker held by Gibraltar would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not heading to Syria.He said he had a "constructive call" with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, who he said assured him that ...
Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone gave an electrifying performance in one of her most strongly essayed characters- Veronica which stays as one of her most memorable characters. As Cocktail clocks seven years today, the actress took to social media to give a shout-out to one of her most rebellious characters ...