Feral Cats

To: "" <>
Subject: Feral Cats
From: Con Boekel <>
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2017 08:17:53 +0000

It is technically possible, using gene recombinant technology, to combine a feline reproductive protein with a non-lethal cat-specific virus. Domestic (registered) moggies could be vaccinated.

The cat's immune systems respond to the virus (with attached reproductive protein) rending the moggy non-fertile but alive.

The scientific doubts to be addressed would be ensuring that the virus stayed cat-specific.

IMO, it is not the scientific issues that prevent this from being deployed.

It is that Minister Frydenberg shows an 'interesting' attitude to his environmental responsibilities.

In the interim our feral moggies are killing around 400 million birds a year, depending on the season.



On 10/8/2017 6:58 PM, steven wrote:
Hi David,

You have misunderstood me:

"Brumbies are not a good analogy...Brumbies...can be rounded up, shot from helicopters etc. but that would be/is politically 'difficult.'"

Your second point is exactly the analogy I was drawing, that cats could be a politically difficult situation when it comes to eradication, I wasn't drawing an ecological analogy between a horses and cats.

Sent from my Samsung GALAXY S5

-------- Original message --------
From: David Rees m("","dprbirdlist");"> <>
Date: 8/10/2017 6:32 PM (GMT+10:00)
To: steven m("","s_chivos");"><>
Cc: Suzanne EDGAR m("","sedgar");"> <>, canberrabirds m("","canberrabirds");"> <>
Subject: Feral Cats

Main problem I suspect for the poor Phascogale/Tuan is the destruction/decline of its habitat, much of which is outside the 'conservation estate'.   Brumbies are not a good analogy - as it would not be difficult to eradicate them - can be rounded up, shot from helicopters etc. but that would be/is politically 'difficult'.  Feral cats are the exact opposite in a large landscape. Always remember money spent on one thing in conservation means something else is neglected, given the limited pot of funds.  Meanwhile large scale land clearing, 'water stealing', coal mines, insensitive development etc. goes on unabated in places. Go for a drive, say into the interior and see how flogged it is, its a sad sight for a first world nation with so few people in it.

If you want a bird as a mascot for feral cat control then maybe its the Night parrot   - that said, now we know how to find them, we are still in the early stages of working out their distribution and habitats, which probably is extensive.  Got no idea if their numbers are declining or not now.  Got no idea if cats are a significant threat, though they could be.  

That is not much use for common suburban birds, most of which do OK, cats or not, providing we provide habitat. There are better priorities for the conservation dollar.

On Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 10:34 PM, steven <> wrote:
Sad story about the phascogale, I also havr never seen a live one, let alone a dead one. Perhaps governments won't go overly public about the feral cat problem because there's just a touch of animal sentiment involved, i.e. cats are familiar as a pet to so many people. It wouldn't take much to inflate this small amount of vague sentiment for moggies to a raging 'anti-cull' protest., thus making the whole venture politically unsavoury. Brumbies may be a useful analogy. The birds which fall victims on the other hand are varied and diverse, whereas what the cause needs is a simple poster-child that people can relate to. Perhaps we should use a few well-known species of bird which are commonly taken by cats to promote their cause.

Sent from my Samsung GALAXY S5

-------- Original message --------
From: Suzanne EDGAR <>
Date: 7/10/2017 7:19 PM (GMT+10:00)
To: 'canberrabirds' <m("","canberrabirds");" moz-do-not-send="true">>
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Feral Cats

I realise.



From: Suzanne EDGAR [mailto:m("","sedgar");" moz-do-not-send="true">net]
Sent: Saturday, 7 October 2017 7:11 PM
To: 'Alan Cowan' <>; 'canberrabirds' <m("","canberrabirds");" moz-do-not-send="true">>
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Feral Cats


Have 4 different cats invading my bird sanctuary back yard currently, @ different times



From: Alan Cowan
Sent: Thursday, 5 October 2017 3:21 PM
To: canberrabirds <m("","canberrabirds");" moz-do-not-send="true">>
Subject: [canberrabirds] Feral Cats


Most people don't realise the numbers of feral cats in Canberra.

At my previous home in an inner suburb I regularly put out a possum trap baited with meat overnight and regularly caught large feral cats. In addition to birds, they also destroy small mammals, frogs, reptiles etc. I remember an acquaintance in WA laughing genially when their cat brought in a dead phascogale. It was the only one I have ever seen.

No-one in government seems too worried. A couple of years ago it was announced that a specific person had been appointed by government in the field of feral predators. I contacted this person and pointed out that the South African National Antarctic Expeditions  service had eradicated cats from subantarctic Marion Island by introducing a cat influenza virus. He seemed uninterested. Most subantarctic islands are infested with cats. Macquarie is the shining exception, after much expensive work.

Barry Cohen who was a federal Labour government minister some years ago did show a keen interest at one time in the feral cat problem.

It's hard to know whether foxes or cats are worse: foxes are more conspicuous but feral cats are common and widespread. Both are undoubtedly appallingly destructive. It is hardly surprising that the Painted Button-quail, a ground nester, is only occasionally present in the Stirling Park woodland: it is amazing that they ever maintain a presence there at all. My friend David Hollands who has spent much time in the outback searching for raptors' nests tells me that it is a common experience to find one occupied by cats.

Would the COG consider doing some work on this problem?

Alan Cowan

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