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Call for U.S. to Ban a major wildlife threat!

By the_keeper_73
Wed, January 18 2012 at 01:20

Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)

Thank you for a well-written though infuriating article. As a reptile, cat & dog "owner" & ball python breeder, I fear that this is just the first step in limiting the freedom of responsible pet owners & I agree that regardless of anyone's feelings towards reptiles, something must be done before it becomes illegal to have any pets at all.
#1 darlene721 on 2012-01-18 12:37 (Reply)
Thank you so much for this..My goals in life, Since i was little, Was to be a successful Burmese Python breeder, They are an amazing snake that i just can not get enough of...This ban breaks my heart and i am trying my hardest to fight it...And i will continue to do so...Not just for me, But for future generations and my reptile buddies, I know it means just as much to them as it does to me...We need more people to help fight this...I have this Petition if anyone would like to sign it...It would mean a lot to me and a lot to other people who deeply care for these amazing misunderstood animals..If you would like to, Here is the link to do so
#2 Crystal on 2012-01-18 18:31 (Reply)
Does the Government really not care about our rights anymore? Might as well rip up the Constitution since they don't seem to care about it anymore. I think its time for another revolutionary war for our rights in this country.
#3 Joseph on 2012-01-18 19:02 (Reply)
For months I had been joking about making a facebook page requesting the ban of cats. This is perfect. Thank you!!!
#4 Ed (Homepage) on 2012-01-18 19:37 (Reply)
Honestly, eradication and banning free roaming cats is legislation long overdue- the severe impact from these cats (including numerous extinctions globally attributed solely to feral cats) and decades worth of solid research from around the world warrant restriction.

Also if the pythons which pose a substantially smaller risk are added to the injurious wildlife list... then by all logic domestic cats should be listed as well. Too bad us wildlife biologists don't have the money/clout to influence the politicians to make that reality.

(Also cat owners- its incredibly cheap to build an outdoor cat pen/cat run, its a win for everyone involved- your cat doesn't die a horrific death, you don't witness said death, your cat gets the outdoor time it wants, and your cat is stopped from killing birds, mice and the most overlooked (but heavily impacted) group-HERPS. )

I know this is supposed to be satirical, but wildlife biologists nationwide wish something would be done about cats.
#5 Catherine on 2012-01-18 20:38 (Reply)
this is actually what really worries me about the python ban. That it opens the door for the government and organizations to try to take away(in the instance) our cats, too. they've proved they can do it with one pet, so who knows what will happen it the coming years.
#6 Aria on 2012-01-18 21:47 (Reply)
I am a biologist and the research you cited on the feral cat threat to wild/native species is NOT good/true science. It is very limited, not properly thought-out, biased, etc. Much of the numbers of birds and other wildlife killed are guesses, unsupported estimates, or assessments made by uneducated owners of cats (i.e. farmers with feral cats populations on their land) who don't know the first thing about the difference between a non-native house sparrow and a finch. Furthermore, anything with Nico Dauphine's name on it should be entirely disregarded as she has a major anti-predator agenda and was caught poisoning feral cats. Even if this is just a joke or meant to wake people up to the absurdity of the python ban, putting the misleading information out there about feral cats' impacts only worsens the problem and supports poor scientific practices. We need more and better studies run by unbiased individuals to truly assess the impacts of feral cats. Feral cats may even help control populations of non-native and harmful birds like starlings and house finches, especially in the urban environment where these birds have an advantage.
#7 Jessica Moore on 2012-01-18 22:01 (Reply)
I am also a biologist, and the references cited are much closer to reality than you are alluding. Miss Dauphine's actions were an act of desperation, how ever wrong, to try and stop the most invasive creature on earth in my opinion.

Regardless, this article is an attempt to raise awareness to the loss of freedom of choice, not the minutiae of which species is identified. Please consider that Jessica.
#7.1 John on 2012-01-19 00:43 (Reply)
Please explain further- the wildlife society has a strong stance against feral cats and there is significant extremely scientifically sound research indicating there is a strong impact that has led to the listing/extinction of numerous species. Also, what makes a study sound then? there's no physical way to count the exact number of birds/herps/mammals all the cats in the world kill (and Cons Bio is a legit journal.)

Are you a trained wildlife biologist/what do you do since biology is such a broad field.

(for reference- I'm finishing my wildlife biology degree at a major university, work as a wildlife biologist grew up in a wildlife biologist family and have yet to meet a wildlife biologist who doesn't agree that feral cats are one of the leading contributors to bird/herp/small mammal mortality globally complete with many first hand accounts of observation of mortality/disease spread by feral/outdoor cats.)
#7.2 Catherine on 2012-01-19 00:48 (Reply)
This is not right why should pythons be baned they are being miss treated there should be no reason for pythons to be ban this is starting to be messed up.
#8 Michael Lintott (Homepage) on 2012-01-18 22:50 (Reply)
The real problem is that if HSUS & PETA have their way this entire article is going to be used by them because the facts stated are correct. They want to ban ALL confined animals eventually. This is not the first time the data has been presented, just first in this manner. People need to wake up to what the agendas of HSUS & PETA are. All animals are at risk! Not just our reptiles, they are going for the easy ones first. Let's make it difficult to push through. Get your non-reptile freinds on board with us because they will be next!
#9 Jon Deardorff (Homepage) on 2012-01-19 00:57 (Reply)
Yes I agree Jon; they will start with the "easy" animals first. This must stop before it goes any further! What good would it be to the animal to ban them from being pets?? As I had stated in other links, animals have helped save the lives of human beings in many ways, from horses and dogs in war, dogs used in search and rescue, police, therapy, and even leading the blind, etc. Animals that are used in educational shows throughout the world to educate the public so just maybe they won't be so misunderstood, etc. The list goes on. So once cats, dogs, and other animals are banned, where will they go? Will they have free roam of towns and cities to become feral/wild and risk the lives of humans and populate like crazy? How is this humane to the animal? This craziness must stop!
#9.1 Anonymous on 2012-01-19 01:12 (Reply)
By the way Jon, it's Christina, not anonymous....
#9.2 Christina Obrecht on 2012-01-19 01:15 (Reply)
Well I tried to comment about how this is a big bag of BS but it wouldnt let me go over a sentence or
#10 The1TrueWhisper (Homepage) on 2012-01-19 04:20 (Reply)
I am a conservation biologist who specialized in birds and worked for the government for years. Con Bio is indeed a great journal, which I subscribe too. I should have specified more in my original post as the Dauphine article is my main issue. Island environments are not as applicable because they are closed systems and usually have species that evolved without predators. Also, most of the island studies I know of, introduced predators like foxes and rats are hard to tease out from the cats. The cat studies used by Dauphine were not in depth enough and she further extrapolated and admittedly used guesses that were not even part of actual research. Poisoning cats is not being desperate, it is being a biased researcher. She opposed TNR (trap neuter release), which has been one of our best bets yet for humanely controlling feral cat populations. I do not think people should have their pet cats outside due to dangers to the cats, disease spread and public nuisance. However, we also need to do more in depth studies on cat impacts that control for the differences between mainland, island, urban, farm and natural environments, and that attempt to separate impacts from humans and other predators. I see science being split on this issue and that is why I am uncomfortable ascribing to either side until more research is done. Pointing fingers at one animal is such a narrow approach when so many factors go into species endangerment, and we need to band together, not put more fuel out there for the anti-pet movement by spreading the opinions of people like Dauphine.
#11 Jessica on 2012-01-19 09:44 (Reply)
This most certainly is NOT a factual article like you claim. It actually sounds like a write up of what those who are against feral cat populations are "claiming" that feral cats do to bird populations. Those folks are trying to get feral cat populations killed with shoddy "science" and inaccurate claims.

While I feel for you - I can't get past YOU using inaccurate claims about cats to make a point that another person/group is making inaccurate claims about pythons. It's almost like a group throwing another "under the bus" to make a point....not cool.
#12 Erica on 2012-01-19 12:19 (Reply)
I fail to see what the specifics of how many birds/squirrels/lizards a cat kills have to do with one INARGUABLE point: feral cats are a domestic animal, released or abandoned by man, living where they have no business being. I would agree that statistics are hard to quantify and other factors--habitat destruction being where I think smart money goes--go into endangering birds, and I think to some degree this essay oversimplifies to make a point. But what do you think feral cats are living on, especially in rural areas where they can't scavenge trash readily? If you accept, as I do, that a cat is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship--call it God or evolution, according to your own belief--you accept that what a cat is best designed for is killing. I love cats, I have two of my own, but I am strongly against leaving feral cats to their own devices. I support TNR over killing them except in the most drastic circumstances, and I feel sorry for them, because humans are directly responsible for their state--but the fact remains that feral cats DO present a threat, though how much of one I suspect varies from locality to locality, to native wildlife.

I agree with you, Jessica, that Dauphine's work constituted some fairly questionable science at best. Where I disagree with you is the notion that cats represent a beneficial addition to our fauna, or any serious remedy to non-native pests. Cats are immensely successful, admirable predators because they are adaptable generalists and prey on whatever is available and easy to catch. Feral cats prey heavily on starlings, sparrows and pigeons in cities because those are the most common birds of the appropriate size in most urban areas, but that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a rural area with broader options to choose from, a cat will not restrict himself to pests--and there is easier game than starlings to be had much of the time. That is 30 years of living in an area with a serious feral/barn/free-range pet cat problem speaking.

Bottom line--pythons don't belong in the Everglades, that's past dispute. Cats belong INDOORS--unless you have a caged run, or you're a farmer and keep a couple of FIXED barn cats for rodent control.
#13 JS Argyle on 2012-01-19 19:28 (Reply)
Well said, JS. I actually agree with everything you said. Keeping outdoor cats is just lazy or ignorant cat ownership, but you will find a massive debate on that view in the cat enthusiasts' world.

I simply put in that bit about feral cats being used as invasive species control because it is an option that has been suggested, but not fully explored. I have qualms about this idea's efficacy, but I put it in there to illustrate the opposite end of the spectrum. History has shown that using one non-native species to eradicate another hardly ever works like planned, as with the mongoose in Hawaii. I certainly do not think feral or outdoor cats should be allowed in natural areas, but I do think the idea that they could be a well-managed alternative to chemical pest control in urban areas at least holds a little merit as something to explore. (Honey bees are an introduced species too, but they are beneficial.) It also potentially turns feral cats in urban settings into local resources instead of financial drains on the shelter and animal control system.

Many people seem so against the idea of predation in general. There is always going to be some level of predation and mortality of endangered species no matter what we do. We need to accept that and work to figure out what an acceptable level is, figure out how everything works as a whole with humans, their dwellings and animal counterparts considered as part of the natural system, not outside the system.

My main point, however, was that using anything with Nico Dauphine's name on it and saying that it constitutes real research is automatically going to turn many of the most responsible and educated of cat owners off of our plea for all pet owners to band together against the python bans before the banning spreads to other animals.
#13.1 Jessica on 2012-01-20 00:56 (Reply)
The problem is not the animals per say, but the evolution of humans and the planet. Humans have screwed up just about everything here and screwing up more each day! Humans will never get rid of all feral cats and we will never get rid of all the pythons in the everglades. WE messed that up! No python ban or feral cat law will solve the problem. They quite possibly will make things worse. The earth/hamans are global now everything is mixed up. There are invasive plants, animals and insects in all parts of the world. We can never go back! No government regulations can help now. Intelligence is what is needed and we don`t have enough yet.
#13.1.1 Paul on 2012-03-09 08:34 (Reply)
I am always amazed at those who feel that feral cats aren't a problem. When I was in college (Fisheries & Wildlife Major) I spent a fair amount of time varmint hunting. You'd be astonished at the number of feral cats I called in. One afternoon I was calling along the south shore of Lake Superior 20 miles for the nearest home. We're talking desolation! In an hour I have 5 feral cats come into my calling. These weren't loose kitties with collars and bells. These rough and tumble backwoods cats living off the land. They weren't eating meow-mix!

Last year I put a motion sensing light on my front porch. It didn't take long for the cats to figure out how to activated it so that they could spot the songbirds in bushes easier. They'd walk the rail up to the light turning it on, walk back down the rail looking into the bushes. They inevitably would jump in and pull out a bird. In a neighborhood filled with feral cats I can tell you that they are eating more than Starlings.
#14 Rich on 2012-01-29 17:20 (Reply)

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