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Kauai Scratches TNR for Feral Cats | The Wildlife Society News
Blog — June 20, 2011

In a rare show of common sense and concern for native wildlife, the Kauai County Council has voted down a resolution that would have established Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) as the method for managing feral cats on the Hawaiian island, which is home to many species of endemic birds.  The Council recognized that feral cats are a major threat to the island’s wildlife when making the decision. Biologist Don Heacock said, “Feral cats are not only unnatural, they are also invasive,” he said. “We’ve known for over 60 years that they are the primary predators of what are now endangered Hawaiian water birds. Things like the alai ula, the Hawaiian stilt and the Koloa ducks are literally sitting ducks, no pun intended, to feral cats, because they nest on the ground.” Now, instead of releasing cats so that they can continue to prey on native wildlife, the County is planning on developing a predator control/eradication plan.  If only more of our nation’s leaders would recognize this growing threat to our native willdife and human and wildlife health and take similar informed action, then our rare and endangered wildlife may actually stand a chance of surviving the next Millenium.  The Council should be praised from moving away from petishism and towards a greater understanding of ecology and the protection of Hawaii’s native wildlife, including its rare and endemic species.  Such species are of great cultural significance to native Hawaiians, as well of great importance to the island’s ecology. Such hard choices will be key to conserving wildlife in a world dominated by human influences.

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Michael Hutchins