Feral cats endanger Aussie’s wildlife

Native species are under threat as millions of feral cats take over most of Australia, including the wild bushland and the national parks, researchers said in a report released on Wednesday.
Feral cats inhabit over 99.8 per cent of Australia’s land area and almost 80 per cent of the area of islands, the report by over 40 of Australia’s top environmental scientists said.
“Australia’s total feral cat population fluctuates between 2.1 million when times are lean, up to 6.3 million when widespread rain results in plenty of available prey,” said Sarah Legge, the lead researcher from The University of Queensland. Feral cats have already driven at least 20 Australian mammals to extinction since the European colonisation of the island more than 200 years ago, Legge said.
That includes desert bandicoots, rabbit-rats, crescent wallabies, desert bettongs and others.
The research, funded by the Australian government’s National Environmental Science Programme, warned that more native species will die off without drastic action. Declaring protected areas alone is not enough to safeguard our native wildlife, Legge said.
“At the moment feral cats are undermining the efforts of conservation managers and threatened species recovery teams across Australia,”Legge said. — dpa