#1 It seemed like a good idea at the time:Famous last words of the Tree Humpers
01-14-2009, 03:27 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island
"Cats and Rats And Elephants (Rabbits) as sure as you are born you're never gona see no Unicorn !"
Thailand – It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.
Removing the cats from Macquarie "caused environmental devastation" that will cost authorities 24 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) to remedy, Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division and her colleagues wrote in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.
"Our study shows that between 2000 and 2007, there has been widespread ecosystem devastation and decades of conservation effort compromised," Bergstrom said in a statement.
The unintended consequences of the cat-removal project show the dangers of meddling with an ecosystem — even with the best of intentions — without thinking long and hard, the study said."The lessons for conservation agencies globally is that interventions should be comprehensive, and include risk assessments to explicitly consider and plan for indirect effects, or face substantial subsequent costs," Bergstrom said.
Located about halfway between Australia and the Antarctic continent, Macquarie was designated a World Heritage site in 1997 as the world's only island composed entirely of oceanic crust. It is known for its wind-swept landscape, and about 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals arrive there each year to breed.
The cats, rabbits, rats and mice are all nonnative species to Macquarie, probably introduced in the past 100 years by passing ships. Authorities have struggled for decades to remove them.
The invader predators menaced the native seabirds, some of them threatened species. So in 1995, the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania that manages Macquarie tried to undo the damage by removing most of the cats.
Liz Wren, a spokeswoman for the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania, said authorities were aware from the beginning that removing the feral cats would increase the rabbit population. But at the time, researchers argued it was worth the risk considering the damage the cats were doing to the seabird populations.
"The alternative was to accept the known and extensive impacts of cats and not do anything for fear of other unknown impacts," Wren said. "Since cats were eradicated, the grey petrel successfully bred on the island for the first time in a century and the recovery of Antarctic prions has continued since the eradication of feral cats."
Now, the parks service has a new plan to finish the job, using technology and poisons that weren't available a decade ago.
Wren said plans to eradicate both rabbits as well as rats and mice from the island will begin in 2010. Helicopters using global positioning systems will drop poisonous bait that targets all three pests. Later, teams will shoot, fumigate and trap the remaining rabbits, she said.
Some of the earlier critics are now behind this latest eradication effort, saying it should help the island's ecosystem fully recover because it would remove the last remaining invasive species.
Last edited by megimoo; 01-14-2009 at 03:33 PM.
01-14-2009, 03:37 PM
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- The Swamps of N. Florida
On the upside, the rabbits will be killed by global warming.
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
01-14-2009, 05:18 PM
This program was a big mistake. Cats keep disease at bay, by killing the animals that spread it. If the idiots in the middle ages weren't deluded into burning cats along with alleged witches, they might have been able to prevent the spread of the black plague to a better degree. Rats (or their fleas) carry plague, typhus, and numerous other diseases. Then there's the bird flu, and birds are cat food, too.
01-15-2009, 02:12 PM
How many times will it take before these idiots realize that nature can take care of itself? How many stories of "we did X to save Y and everything got royally screwed up" will it take for them to understand that the chain of events is beyond what their pot and acid muddled brains can contemplate?Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Differences between Obama and God: God's plan to save us is actually written down for people to read. Rush Limbaugh.
My blog: How Things Look From Here Politics, religion, random stuff, now on Wednesdays!
01-16-2009, 11:39 AMIt seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.
- Join Date
- May 2008
"I was... ordered to drop my pants, bend over and spread my cheeks."
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