Yes, we need to remind ourselves that feral cats are part of the ecosystem. They are integrated into the wildlife. They prey on certain wildlife and certain wildlife preys on them and if that is disturbed there may be unforeseen consequences down the food chain. The feral cat primarily feeds on rodents such as mice and rats. It is a myth that feral cats prey on birds in large numbers. Some people want to get rid of the feral cat completely. I don't think they have thought through the consequences of that objective. What would happen to the rat population?
Some people like to shoot feral cats and these people would like to see all feral cats eradicated. But we know that as feral cats are part of the ecosystem and they prey on rats they cannot be eradicated without massive unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences. In which case they should not shoot feral cats at all because they shoot them with intention of the long-term objective of eradicating them which, as I just stated, is impossible and unwise.
An example of the unwise nature of trying to eradicate an animal that is considered a pest or a nuisance is the long-term attempt to eradicate the dingo in Australia. If Australians do not wish to eradicate the dingo then they at least they wish to hunt it in large numbers to reduce the population size.
The 70 year hunt of the dingo in Australia going forward will damage native wildlife species and in some cases endangered species. This is the conclusion of a study by the New South Wales University published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society.
The dingo preys on animals such as kangaroos, foxes and possums and these animals prey on other animals such as native rodents. If you kill the dingo there are more animals that can prey on rodents therefore the rodent population falls. However there are other animals such as bandicoots that are preyed upon by these animals. As can be seen in trying to exterminate the dingo there is a knock-on effect which can lead unforeseen and detrimental consequences.
The feral cat preys on rodents as mentioned. If you exterminate the feral cat in Australia, logically that should lead to a sharp increase in the population numbers of bush and swamp rats. Rats can kill native wild life.
Another interesting aspect of the attempt to exterminate animals that are perceived as pests is that you end up with conflicting consequences. Exterminating the dingo results of a fall in the rat population, it seems, while exterminating the feral cat results in a rise in the population numbers of rats. If the authorities wish to exterminate both feral cats and dingos in Australia the consequences will conflict and surely that indicates that there has been a lack of foresight as to the consequences.
In my opinion, it is foolhardy to mess with an ecosystem. If Australians wish to conserve native wildlife than they could achieve much more and in a far more humane manner if they analysed more accurately the impact that they, themselves have on native wildlife species including habitat destruction and take steps to remedy that.
The human is the greatest danger to native wild species in Australia or anywhere else. People should stop passing the buck to animals. It only delays what has to be done. The modern human has a habit of evading responsibility for his actions.
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