The Australian government has been airdropping poisonous sausages across hectares of land in an effort to kill millions of the cats after declaring war against them, according to local reports.
The poisoned sausages is only one of their tactics to plan two million feral cats by 2020 in order to protect native species. According to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, cats in Australia kill about 377 million birds and 649 million reptiles per year, which drives the species’ population to decline and for soil to be less fertile and productive.
Gregory Andrews, national commissioner of threatened species, told Sydney Morning Herald that the feral cats drove about 20 mammal species into extinction since they were first introduced by European settlers.
“We have got to make choices to save the animals that we love, and who define us as a nation like the bilby, the warru (Black-footed rock-wallaby) and the night parrot,” Andrews told The Independent.
New York Times have reported that the cats die within 15 minutes after eating the sausages, which were made up of kangaroo meat, chicken fat, herbs, spices and of course the secret ingredient, poison. The planes distributing the poisoned treats drop 50 sausages every kilometer in areas where they believe the cats roam free.
Native animals are said to be immune from the poison, because it is also found in native plants.
Dr. Dave Algar, the person who helped develop the recipe of the poison and sausage, said he let his cats taste test the sausages before adding the poison.
“They’ve got to taste good,” Algar told The Independent. “They are the cat’s last meal.”
Other than the poisoned sausages, the government also shoots down feral cats they have caught.
However, the cull received backlash from conservationists, who argue that the government are focusing on the cats, rather than more important problems that the country is facing, like the reduction of biodiversity, urban expansion, illegal logging and mining – all of which are factors that drives animals into extinction.
“There’s a possibility there that cats are being used as a distraction to some extent,” Tim Doherty, conservation ecologist from Deakin University in Australia told CNN. “We also need to have a more holistic approach and address all threats to biodiversity.”
Wayne Hsuing, DXE organizer, added that “humans are by far the most invasive species” and he suggests that “mass spaying program or stronger sanctions against guardians who abandon their cats in the wild.”
New Zealand is another country who have announced the goal of being feral cat-free by 2050, and they even planned on putting a stop into owning domestic cats altogether – to simply put, banning people from owning cats.