Domestic cats and long term conservation

July 18, 2012

Matt Stewart’s article in the Dominion Post, 17 July 2012, on “killer cats” was written after he contacted staff at Zealandia, DOC, Forest & Bird, SPCA and possibly other organisations. The subject is not a new one but this time was sparked by recent advice from Zealandia to our members in a newsletter that read:

“Do you have a cat? Consider keeping your cat indoors during the day – when birds are about. When your cat dies, you can improve the survival of local birds and reptiles by not getting a new one.”

Please note: We are in no way saying people should get rid of their cats or harm any domestic cats.

Many New Zealanders love their cats so what we are encouraging is a long term perception shift. Raising awareness (that many domestic cats kill native lizards, insects and birds) is just a small part of our long term goal to advocate for the conservation and restoration of native species and ecosystems. Individuals have the power to influence the survival rate of native wildlife in their own neighbourhood through their own actions – and choosing our pets is part of that.

New Zealand’s remarkable native species and ecosystems evolved in a mammal-free environment and it is the relatively recent introduction of predatory mammals that has led to the swift decline of these native species.

Our Conservation Manager (and cat-lover) Raewyn Empson elaborated on our position. You can hear her interview on Radio NZ here:

Don’t miss Nicola Toki’s excellent blog on the delicate subject of cats as pests: