Draft ACT cat plan released for public comment

To: Jenny Bounds <>
Subject: Draft ACT cat plan released for public comment
From: David Rees <>
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2019 04:10:52 +0000
'Interesting' figure on rosellas.  I think figures quoted like this in isolation in such a press release are meaningless, not science and are unprofessional.  More to the point, do you have serious evidence that numbers of such birds are declining in Canberra's suburbs, along with other related species, such as King parrots, Superb parrots and Red-rumped parrots?   If so do we know why? I suspect the main 'rate limiting step' with these birds locally is most likely to be availability of nesting sites (age composition of native woodland)  and competition with honey bees and birds such as Indian mynas for them (not to mention big yellow bulldozers having a go at old trees). There seems to be no shortage of food, native and exotic, as long as we don't cover the place with high density developments, which cat containment won't prevent.... 

The statement that cat containment made is  'effective'  is I think misleading at best.  Yes, you can probably argue there are less cats wandering in areas where containment is in place, that is a function of most Caberrans being law-abiding citizens.  However, is there any evidence that numbers of such birds in suburbs where cats are contained (now for a number of years) are significantly different from similar suburbs nearby where they are not?  My lived experience in the Gungahlin area, is that with these birds at least, there is no empirical difference.  It would be nice to see some science done locally to actually nail this one. Its not the first time I've made this point, and I will make it again.  Is there any evidence that having Mulligan's Flat free of such predators and others has made any difference to numbers of locally occurring bird numbers in there?  Don't know I suspect is the current answer. Indeed, one could reasonably argue that some additional 'predation' on the current load of 'grazers' in there might actually improve matters for bird and other locally resident wildlife in there.  

There is merit in cat-containment on animal health and welfare grounds and domestic harmony grounds where the argument on clear. I contain my animals for those reasons, not to mention sadistic people.   I suspect enforcing containing cats to 'protect' native wildlife in suburbs will prove to be largely 'greenwash' in the grand scheme of things. It will come at a cost to the community at large (I know from experience) and there may be no measurable gain to wildlife as a result  (will we bother to actually find out, unlikely, given no measurable gains are proposed), but we can all feel better that we made the community 'do something'.  Meanwhile much bigger threatening processes continue......



On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 8:41 AM Jenny Bounds <> wrote:

Greetings, I am forwarding information about the ACT Draft cat plan which has just been released for public input/comments.  I understand there is a 12 weeks consultation period.  The Conservation Council of which COG is an active member, has been working on improving arrangements for control of domestic cats for some years.  Over time, a number of new suburbs in ACT have been declared cat containment, eg Forde, Bonner and Throsby next to Mulligans Flat.  Now is the time for those concerned about better protection for biodiversity in our city to have their say to Government.  Please take the time to have a look at the Plan – link below - and put in your views.



COG Conservation Officer


6 April 2019


Draft cat plan up for discussion

The Conservation Council ACT Region has welcomed today’s release of the Draft ACT Cat Plan, and encouraged the community to get involved in the consultation over the next three months.

“This is a great opportunity for community discussion on how we can improve outcomes for both domestic cats and our native wildlife” said Helen Oakey, Executive Director at the Conservation Council ACT Region.

“Canberrans are very lucky to be surrounded by unique and beautiful bush areas, however living so close to nature means native wildlife is more vulnerable to predation from roaming domestic cats.

“Cats are known to roam both during the day and at night, up to 1km from their homes, and unfortunately hunt many species of birds and animals. An ACT study has estimated that domestic cats kill more than 100,000 rosellas in Canberra each year.

"Cat containment means keeping your cat either inside the house or in an outside area where it can’t leave the premises. 

“The good news is that keeping cats contained is not only good for wildlife, it also has benefits for your cat - uncontained cats are four times more likely than contained cats to suffer significant injures at least once a year

"The Draft ACT Cat Plan discusses options to expand cat containment in the ACT, such as gradually adding cat containment suburbs, putting in place requirements for new pet cats to be contained or simply declaring all suburbs cat containment.  

"The Conservation Council supports the whole of the ACT becoming a cat containment area by 2025. 

“While we know that cat containment measures in suburbs have been effective, given the spread of our native wildlife, and how far cats can roam, a uniform approach across all suburbs would be more successful in protecting native wildlife. 

“The 2025 timeline gives cat owners time to transition cats to being contained, and also means that new cat owners can be informed of the upcoming measures and get their cat used to being contained.

“Most people want to be responsible cat owners. This means caring for the health and wellbeing of your cat, and taking responsibility for your cat’s impact on wildlife”, said Ms Oakey.

The Draft ACT Cat Plan 2019-29 is available here.


Media comment:

Helen Oakey, Executive Director, ACT Conservation Council, 0402 052 777



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