Every cat owner knows that cats love hunting. Even domesticated felines love to engage in the occasional hunt or two. According to a recent study, however, the number of victims cats can rack up could be pretty staggering. In Australia alone, felines, both wild and domesticated, are responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million birds every day.
The study was published in the Biological Conversation, a scientific journal that discusses animal life and nature. According to the findings of the research, around 377 million birds die in Australia every year, with wild cats killing as many as 316 avians and domesticated felines killing as many as 61 million birds annually.
The hunting activities of Australia’s cats have become so prominent that the population of some bird species in the country has begun to decline. In a statement to Phys.org, John Woinarski from Charles Darwin University expressed how grave the cat situation was in Australia.
“Everyone knows that cats kill birds, but this study shows that, at a national level, the amount of predation is staggering. It is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species.”
The research was conducted across the country, with the findings being aggregated from over 100 individual studies by environmental scientists. According to Woinarski, the recently conducted research was the first scientific initiative that targeted feline hunting activities on a nationwide level, as stated in a Newsweek report.
Overall, both wild and domesticated cats have been responsible for a nationwide killing spree involving 338 types of birds in Australia. Almost half of these birds are native to the country, and more than 70 species are currently tagged as threatened species. With the country’s ongoing feline problem, the future of Australia’s bird population appears quite bleak.
It is not just birds that are currently being threatened by cats, either. According to Woinarski, wild cats are responsible for the decline in the population of some mammal species in the country, as well. In fact, cats are currently Australia’s primary culprit for its relatively high rate of mammal extinction.
Considering the current onslaught of cat attacks on the country’s bird population, Australia is in need of an effective initiative that could effectively counter the wave of feline-related animal deaths in the country. So far, Australia’s efforts at addressing its cat problem, such as sterilization operations, have proven ineffective.
This time, however, the Australian government is adopting a more assertive stance against the country’s predators. The Threatened Species Strategy, for one, recently granted more than AU$30 million (US$23 million) as a means to combat the rising wave of cat attacks on Australia’s animal population.
With new, solid data and fresh funding, the onslaught of cat-related animal killings in Australia might see its end in the near future.
[Featured Image by Mila-Ru/Shutterstock]