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The Influence of Feral Cats on the Environment

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 120

According to some ecologists the continuous domestication of feral cats has a bad effect on ecosystems and the environment, because a large population of feral cats leads to increased hunting of birds and small animals.

Actually, those kind of cats have a serious impact on the environment and their population has endangered the existence of some animals and species.

Feral cats are considered to be the most vicious and dangerous animals on the small islands, where they are responsible for the extinction of certain species, such as the spectacled hare-wallaby and the burrowing bettong.

Problems with the Environment:

Researchers have found that in the USA, feral cats kill large animal and bird populations every year, especially in Florida. So, we may conclude that these feline breeds have significant impact on both wildlife animals and the entire environment.

The behaviour of those cats may lead to the disruption of food chains and thus to reduction of local animal population. In some countries, including Australia and New Zealand, wild cats have killed certain local animals and birds and the result of this process is a complete damage of the natural flora.

Thus, in Australia feral cats are responsible for the decreased population of wallabies. According to researchers and ecologists, feral cats have greatly affected the population of rock wallabies in a distant area of Queensland.

The main food source for those cats in Australia is rabbits. However, this hasn't had an impact on rabbit populations, because the number of feral cats and rabbits is equal.

Wild cats affect food chains, but they can also have an important impact on other local species, because they often deplete their food sources. The most significantly affected animals include the eastern quoll, the hawks, the wedge-tailed eagle and some reptiles, such as the dingoes, the Lace Monitor and the Goanna.

As the populations of those cats are really big, those animals do not only kill other local animals, but also eat a great part of their food. These means that the other local animals are left with no or very little food resources. In many areas eagles and hawks had to change their eating habits in order to survive.

Native cats are also in danger, because feral cats often have a negative impact on them, especially on quolls. For example, if feral kitties approach female quolls, they will become infertile. People can't do much to avoid this, but they can try to prevent the exposure of domestic felines to feral cats. According to a study, the population of female quolls is being gradually reduced, because a number of quolls have become infertile.

An Overview:

Feral cats are carriers of some incurable diseases that are dangerous and even fatal for other animals, such as the local marsupials. Such a disease is toxoplasmosis and it is very harmful, because it may cause respiratory problems, blindness, paralysis, abortion and stillbirth.

Another diseases carried by those cats is Rabies. It affects both animals and humans, and has more serious impact on the ecosystems.

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Source: EzineArticles
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