Saturday 5 July 2014

Mass Trap Neuter Release Planned For Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii is a small island about 45 kms in diameter. I guess they have lots of seabirds. It is the sort of place where seabirds are the primary wildlife and they are potential prey for feral cats. You'd have thought with that in mind the authorities would have taken effective proactive steps years ago to ensure that cat owners behaved in a responsible way towards their duty in ensuring that their cats did not breed and did not wander to the point where they became feral.

But no, so the island has the classic "feral cat problem". Fortunately the authorities have set up an 11 member task force to use humane methods to reduce and control the feral cat population. Although the methods will not be totally humane - there is likely to be some killing but at present we don't know how much.

The target is no feral or stray cats on the island by 2025. How long does it take for trap-neuter-return to take full effect and reduce the feral cat population to zero? They have 11 years. I'd thought that was not enough time. In fact, I am pretty sure it is not enough time. It assumes a short lifespan for each feral cat but some may live longer than planned and the target requires completely successful (100% of cats neutered) TNR program across the island. This is probably unattainable and the TNR may take years putting the target back. It may have been wiser to set a more relaxed target so that success was more likely.

The plan is to TNR until 2020 combined with rigorous record keeping to monitor the progress. The aim is to achieve 90% feral cats TNR'ed by 2020.

It seems that they plan to TNR adult cats and try and adopt out kittens. There is certainly an admission that there will be some killing occurring in conjunction with the TNR.

Phase II will place strict requirements on the keeping of cat colonies. Where there are groups of cats they will have to be on private, fenced property and registered, certified etc.. I presume this refers to multicat households of those people who wish to care for feral cats. Most feral cat carers won't have the means to comply in my opinion.

At least the task for director has the correct starting point and attitude:

"It has to be done humanely, but we can't just leave this problem to sort itself out."

Source story.

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