Shocking information on General Pets — cats – published in his new book, “war Cat” (Cats Wars) eminent American ornithologist Peter Marr and writer Chris Santella. They call them “fuzzy killers” and accuse… almost bringing America to environmental disaster. The authors argue that in the feet and mouths of these lovely animals in the vastness of the USA killed billions of birds, rodents, reptiles and other animals. This is more than from poisoning with pesticides and poisons, collisions with vehicles, wind turbines, buildings and other troubles emanating from the civilization together. And all because of a cat, as found by the authors of the book, prey no matter they are hungry or not.
So what is it? A little more and a population that live in America will simply cut off these crafty and unscrupulous hunters? And won’t it like Russia, where too many stray cats? “MK” tried to figure it out.
The book, written by the head of the Smithsonian center for migratory birds Marrom in collaboration with the writer Santelli that was published this week, discusses the whole world. It says that in 2013, Marra and his colleagues have undertaken to calculate the annual damage caused by homeless cats. They collected data from scientific publications, field surveys, data for veterinary clinics. All were allegedly used thousands of reports. After analyzing them, scientists were shocked. It turned out that in the paws of homeless cats, both wild and domestic, in the United States die each year about 4 billion birds and 22 billion small mammals, 822 million reptiles and 299 million amphibians. And the number of cats living freely on the streets in the U.S. more than 80 million individuals.
“In the United States from the claws and teeth of cats killed more mammals and birds than wind turbines, cars, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and aircraft, as well as other so-called direct anthropogenic causes combined” — calculated by the authors.
Interestingly, in violation of the biological balance of blame cats for the first time. And that ornithologists are worried about the most. In 1916 Edward the Forbush wrote that after their domestication, cats, rastrogavshis, “turns into a destructive force among native birds and animals” and therefore “should not be outside of buildings.
Meanwhile, as follows from the book, in America, 98% of the owners of these Pets did not consider it necessary to restrict their freedom.
But animal rights activists that are fighting for the rights of cats, are sure to blame them alone for the disappearance of populations of mice and birds in the cities is unfair. First, cats have always lived outdoors. And secondly, to domesticate these predators decided people.
But the toughest opponents that the cat walked by itself, I think that you need to completely get rid of stray cats, by legalizing euthanasia of animals.
The state, meanwhile, amid speculation about sabotage cats are increasingly developing programs, providing for the capture of stray cats, sterilization and treatment, and then return to a familiar environment with the goal of reducing population size. This is considered a humane alternative to euthanasia, but environmentalists believe this destruction of cats, only stretched out in time. Moreover, as they are sure the problem is not solve, but only aggravates, because other owners of Pets with a calm heart let them go outside. And those in whose house a cat or a cat that does not want to properly educate, bring harm to furniture, colors or other Pets, simply get rid of them by sending out the door.
What do they want the authors of the book? They don’t know how to solve the problem, but do not exclude that if people don’t change their attitude to the situation, then someday they will have, despite the fact that it hurts to euthanize feral cats, which among other things, also threaten human health.
However, in this “cat war”, according to the authors, can at least declare a truce, to find a Solomonic decision, if you finally start to think.
But is it really so serious the impact of cats on the environment, as set out by the American scientist and writer, “MK” decided to ask Anna Shubkina – senior researcher of the Institute of ecology and evolution of animals named after A. N. Severtsev, Russian Academy of Sciences.
First to speak about the environmental catastrophe in this case is incorrect, – immediately denied the scientific formulation of the problem. – You can only talk about the problems for some micro-populations, subpopulations or members of populations of some species of birds and animals. Here you need to use the term “caused an ecological disaster” and the term “influenced”.
Does it matter how to call other animals caused large-scale damage?
– When the cat caught a bird or rodent, other animal killed it or ate it, in fact, we can say that the gene pool of wild-caught specimens were removed from the overall gene pool of the population. A little obedinilis population, Yes. However, any predator selectively affects the population, extracting from it individuals with some defects of well-being. These defects can be physiological, but can be others.
For example, if the two of us and I’m older, I have more age-related diseases. Therefore, surely, if we two will run away from a predator, then he catches me before.
That is to say, cats are destroying urban wildlife, improve its composition, as kill mostly sick and older individuals?
Roughly speaking, Yes. But also more fools who will run in the wrong direction. In General, the removal of individuals from populations of predators, including domestic cats, it is more structured than it seems at first glance. And predator is weak, if no other factors influence negatively on the population size.
What are these other factors?
For example, for the birds — the disappearance of the elements of the biocenosis, those habitats in which this species makes nests. Here, for example, took we, the people, creating a specific landscape, destroyed bushes, in which a certain kind of the Nightingale making a nest. And one may say then that it is not us, but the cat Mary Ivanovna, who ate babies. Okay, I hope that I mean?
Completely. How, by the way, in this sense, are things we have?
In Russia we have a population of wild cats more than in America, because in our homes, especially high-rise, special conditions, comfortable for the rats and mice. So, everything here is balanced. And do not then, if something happens, blame the cats that we did with you.