Saturday, August 12, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Feral cats wreaking havoc on New Zealand birds

New Zealand's Gisborne Herald has a history of the feral cat problem in the country, along with Department of Conservation's recommendation to ease the problem. The introduction of opportunistic predators like this has been a disaster for the native birds, many of which had become flightless or ground dwelling.
Cats arrived in New Zealand along with European colonisation and since then have been responsible for the elimination of a range of native birds.

From the Stephens Island wren in the 1800s to the North Island saddleback, pied tit, tui and red-crowned parakeet on Cuvier Island off the Coromandel coast, and at least two species of seabirds and most forest birds on Mangere Island in the Chathams, feral cats have been responsible for the loss of some of New Zealand'’s unique birds.

Cats have also heavily predated the rare kakapo, black stilt, kiwi and stitchbird.
The DOC recommends trapping feral cats and also encourages domestic cat owners have their pets neutered to reduce the number of unwanted litters.

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