Let us not forget, feral cats come from people letting their cats out, even if it was generations ago. Cats are not native to North or South America.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jane Stein<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:44 PM
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] birds and cats
Just a point of clarification on Zeke's terrific field research study--
he's talking about a city with an enormous feral cat population,
somewhat like Rome.
On 1/31/2013 6:22 PM, Ezekiel S. Jakub wrote:
> Hi All,
> I also made this reply to Jane off list and will share with the rest
> of the group. I am currently doing research in Urban Panama City,
> Central America ... specifically "The viability of urban conservation
> in Tropical Cities". We are looking at both migratory and residential
> birds ... what types of habitat they use, diversity, and of course
> vegetative index. We are correlating also the survivability rates of
> some nestling species ... because our feral cat populations are so
> large. \
> Of course as a scientist I cannot speak to all points made by either
> Jane or others about ca and wildlife. But I can say a few things with
> data to back it up and data that is statistically significant
> (collected in our work)
> 1. In urban environments in Panama ... there are more species
> utilizing the urban matrix than most might think. We have recorded
> over 100 species within the boundary of Panama City ... of which most
> are residential but some are migratory.
> 2. Habitat loss in the city is severe and bird species have been
> delegated to utilize non-native habitat (which is immensely patchy)
> but have utilized it successfully
> 3. Fledgling survival rates of many species we have looked at are
> almost null. The main culprit we have identified are urban feral cat
> populations. Adult ground nesting birds seem to survive cat attacks
> fairly well ... fledglings do not. I have seen with 2 years of data
> almost a 78% death rate in certain species survival rates within
> Panama City and throughout multiple habitat types.
> 4. The only course of action that we have deemed appropriate to
> control massive kills has been straight culls of the cat population.
> 5. There is plenty of research throughout Latin America that speaks
> directly to feral cat populations in both urban and rural areas and
> the effect on native.migratory bird populations ... just look via
> your local library at peer reviewed research ... its abundant.
> 6. As per the argument of habitat loss. I cannot disagree with Jane
> and especially in the tropics, that this is not significant. I would
> also like to point out what others have said or eluded to: We, as
> bird conservationists, must strive at conserving native/migratory
> bird populations in every way we can which is CLEARLY a multilateral
> dynamic approach.
> SIDE NOTE: As a dog owner myself and a pet lover I can empathize with
> the "cat lobby". I do think that you should have the option to
> responsibly have outdoor time for your cat. In my field though, a
> unsupervised cat, let loose into the "wilds" (albeit rural or urban)
> is indeed a disaster for local birdlife (in my case I can speak with
> authority to this). The problem here is responsibility in the U.S.
> and in my neck of the woods (Panama) ... simply overwhelming numbers
> of feral cat populations are destructive. As a cat owner ... I would
> suggest limited exposure to the out-of-doors, in a fenced backyard
> where you as the owner can try and control as much of that cats
> affect on local wildlife as possible. That is your responsibility as
> a pet owner. Otherwise ... in Panama ... the cats programs that have
> initiated are 100% cull.
> Questions and comments welcome,
> Ezekiel S. Jakub (Zeke) Resource Management and Conservation,
> Avian/Tropical Conservación de Aves Tropicales (Panamá) U.S. Ph:
> (413)773-7906 Panama Cell Ph: (507) 649-40106 Panama Home Ph: (507)
> 221-9941 [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> On Jan 31, 2013, at 5:31 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>> Thomas, given the really impressive background you just spelled
>> out, I wonder if you might explain something in your previous post
>> that disturbed me and some other readers far more than throwing
>> stuff at intruding cats, and that's your method of choice for
>> killing mice, glue traps and drowning.
>> I assume there's a reason you do it this way. I've struggled
>> against the necessity of killing mice and found no way around it,
>> but I settled on snap traps because they kill quickly and
>> reasonably humanely. Are those impractical for you in some way?
>> On 1/31/2013 8:01 AM, Thomas Berriman wrote:
>>> "Let's not forget that cats are only doing what comes naturally.
>>> To talk of "eliminating" them or "run them down on foot picking
>>> up rocks and throwing the whole time" is not only cruel and
>>> inhumane, but illegal!"
>>> Sorry Pamela my post sounded so inhumane. As a 20 year long
>>> vegetarian, PETA member and (someone who doesn't even own
>>> leather shoes, belt or wallet) I accept and understand the need
>>> for some species in our natural world to be 'managed' either
>>> through hunting or other forms of control. The 135 million cats
>>> (Wisc. Study) that are an 'invasive' species (out of doors) need
>>> to be managed. I will continue to chase any cat that wonders onto
>>> my property and throw anything I happen upon to scare it off.
>>> Maybe that is why I have only seen a cat twice in 10 years.
>>> Perhaps I am only doing what comes 'naturally' to me as one more
>>> species on the planet.
>>> As an Audubon chapter president and board member the last 11
>>> years, I have lectured and posted dozens and dozens of
>>> informational suggestions and guides on dealing with the invasive
>>> species of cats. I will continue to do so at every opportunity.
>>> However as I stated before:
>>> Cat owners do not get to have it both ways, Cats are either
>>> 'wildlife' or pets and what happens in the 'wilds' stays in the