Northeast Section: Conservation Affairs

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Position Statement: Managing Chronically Overabundant Deer

View the Northeast Section’s updated position statement here, which was approved by the NETWS membership on April 1, 2016.

Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA)
December 9, 2004
Section: Letters
Article ID: 2586572

Rescuing Feral Cats Endangers Wildlife

To the Editor of THE EAGLE: I am writing to provide a different perspective in response to your Dec. 4 article, (“Feral cat rescue squad,” Page E5) Feral cats are recognized by biologists as a significant threat to wildlife populations, particularly small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The activities of feral cat advocacy groups that perpetuate the continued presence of feral cat colonies, directly affect the stability and viability of local native wildlife populations.

Even the most conservative published estimates of prey killed by feral cats are immense. Supplemental feeding does not deter cats from killing wild animals; feral cats kill instinctively and not necessarily out of hunger.

The trap-neuter-release and direct feeding programs that some groups engage in are not only ineffective in reducing feral cat numbers but directly harm native wildlife populations. The Wildlife Society (TWS), a scientific professional association of nearly 9,000 professional wildlife biologists from throughout North America, has reviewed this issue in depth. TWS strongly supports and encourages the humane and legally authorized elimination of feral cat colonies. TWS also advocates for aggressive public education that encourages; responsible care for domestic cats; active cat spaying and neutering programs, and; local or state ordinances discouraging the maintenance of feral cat colonies. The general public should be aware that superficially well-intentioned efforts to “protect” feral cat colonies extract a substantial cost from our native wildlife populations.


Hancock, N.H.

The writer is president of The Wildlife Society’s northeast section.

(c) 2004 The Berkshire Eagle. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc