Tuesday, November 20, 2018 02:45:40 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.
Pakistan succumbed to debutant spinner Ajaz Patel's five-wicket haul and lost the first Test against New Zealand by four runs on Monday.Needing 139 more runs with all 10 wickets in hand on the fourth day, Pakistan was bowled out for 171 with Patel taking 5-59 and Wagner claiming 2-27.Azhar Ali ...
AFP :Three leading Hong Kong democracy campaigners pleaded not guilty on Monday to public nuisance charges over their involvement in massive rallies calling for political reform, as room for opposition in the semi-autonomous city shrinks under an assertive China.The pioneering trio are among nine activists all facing public nuisance charges ...
FOUR people were killed and 50 others injured in two separate clashes between two factions of locals in Raipura upazila of Narsingdi on Friday last. Of the dead Tofayel Rana -- an SSC examinee from Bashgari High School -- and three others Morom, Sohrab and Swapan were killed in gun ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Mehazabien Chowdhury has already established herself in the field of acting that directors always want to keep in engage with works. If Mehazabien likes story and character she always tries to work. After Mizanur Rahman Aryan’s Boro Chhele, Mehazabien became more selective in the selection of story ...
President of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Nazmul Hassan Papon MP assumed the post of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President for a two- year term at its Annual General Meeting held in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday.Nazmul Hassan Papon is the 3rd ACC President from Bangladesh following in the ...
AFP, Kandy :Jack Leach's first five-wicket haul clinched an overwhelming win for England in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday that sealed the series with a match to go.England needed just 30 minutes on the fifth day to take the final three wickets with Leach fittingly getting last ...
THE ongoing trade war between the US and China has created a better opportunity for Bangladesh, especially for garment sectors. The exporters have been receiving a greater number of work orders from both China and the US. The current trade war has opened an opportune moment for us (Bangladesh) as ...
AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday called crucial talks with political leaders in a bid to end a power struggle with the prime minister he sacked last month.The Indian Ocean nation has been paralysed since October 26 when Sirisena deposed Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier and replaced him ...
AFP, Washington :The US government has not reached a final conclusion over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the State Department said Saturday following reports that the CIA had held the Saudi Crown Prince responsible."Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate," State Department spokeswoman ...
Actress Kriti Sanon who has her hands filled currently with multiple projects has started taking Marathi lessons for her upcoming next. The actress who is currently shooting for Housefull 4 has already begun prep for her next, Panipat. As Kriti will be seen essaying the role of a Maratha queen ...
Actor Sridevi, who died unexpectedly earlier this year, will be posthumously honoured at the 49th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Sridevi, who had an illustrious career spanning over four decades, died at the age of 55 due to accidental drowning in Dubai earlier this year. The actor ...
Campus Report :In recognition of his vision to digital transformation of society, skill management to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship in every youth, and social contribution to destitute children through Daffodil Institute of Social Sciences (DISS) in association with Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, India, the management of ...