I look at a story like today’s featured article and marvel at the fact that the nonsense truly never ends! Endangered Hawaiian Gallinules Killed by Feral Cats is the title and it starts like this:
Endangered ‘Alae ‘Ula (Hawaiian Common Gallinule, a subspecies of Common Gallinule formerly called Hawaiian Common Moorhen) are among the latest documented victims of feral cat predation on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i.
The balance of the opening paragraph then reads like a crime blotter and finishes like this:
The feral cat is still at large.
The narrative explains what amounted to the murder of six adults and two hatchlings, along with the failure of nine eggs, because of the actions of one cat. What is utterly shocking to the senses is the fact that remote cameras caught all the gory details of this crime spree which occurred over the course of several weeks!
Once my breath-stealing trauma subsided and I was able to get control of my emotions again, I began a little investigation of my own to see if I might be of assistance in solving this crime. After all, I do have a law enforcement background…
Here’s what I found:
The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, where the crimes occurred, was established in 1972 under the Endangered Species Act. Yes, that is correct, forty-five years ago. The purpose was to specifically recover five (5) threatened and endangered species. These would be the same ones listed as killed by feral cats.
The number of feral cats on the island has been estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000.
A Feral Cat Task Force had been established to address the problem. That task force was established in 2011. Yes, that is correct, six years ago.
The Task Force spent $30,000 on a study. No, I’m not kidding!
The study recommendations were then submitted for consideration in 2014. Yes, that is correct, three years ago.
Those recommendations included:
Setting a goal of “zero feral, abandoned, or stray cats”.
Implementing “practical” solutions such as sterilization and confinement.
The conclusions reached by many important people involved with this issue are staggering and sobering.
Grant Sizemore, the Director of Invasive Species Programs for the American Bird Conservancy said, “With even wildlife refuges no longer safe from cats, the time has come to pass a comprehensive cat ordinance…”
While Michael Mitchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Project Leader weighed in, “Throughout Kaua’i, natural resource managers are doing everything they can to save our native birds. But some species are running out of time, and extinction is forever.”
My investigation revealed even more information but there simply isn’t enough space to go over it all here. My conclusion, however, is pretty straightforward:
The definition of “feral” that I believe is most appropriate under these circumstances is as follows:
having escaped from domestication and become wild
I believe, without any reasonable doubt, that the problem at hand is not with feral cats.
The problem is with feral government.
That’s the view from here.