Friday, June 13, 2008

Cats blamed

Articles like this one make me upset. I understand that these are endangered iguanas and need protection but it's the fact that the cats again get blamed, and then killed, that makes me angry.

First, the cats on this island were killed because supposedly they were killing the iguanas. Here's an article on the various things that are killing the iguanas - if you look at it, it seems that the iguanas went extinct after an army base went up during World War II and several of the iguanas have been killed by cars (20 out of a population of 220 or so at the time). So my question is - why cats? It seems odd again to me that cats are singled out. Why not ban cars on the island, or aircraft since they seem to be a significant factor in why the iguanas are dying? I also wonder what percentage of the iguanas dying can be linked to the cats? Also is it not possible that it's just greater human activity (with all its attendant issues) that has led to the population of iguanas dropping?

Secondly, there was an increase apparently in the iguana population, but at the same time this may well have been due to the fact that iguanas were introduced or other factors. If you introduce say X number of iguanas and they are old enough to reproduce, then it's not a surprise really that the population would increase. So why were cats killed as a first result before taking all these other issues into consideration?

Fortunately a group called Animal Balance was started to deal with this and to do TNR on the islands. They are working with the local authorities to get all the cats and dogs sterilised. I saw a presentation that the founder did at a conference a few years ago and now have a renewed appreciation of the work she is doing.

It seems that one of the problems is importation of animals - which is supposedly not allowed. While it seems that Sea Shepherd has a problem with the cats and dogs being there as well, they do not want the cats to be killed and are working with Animal Balance though they want the law on dogs and cats to be strictly enforced. What I did find interesting in the editorial as well was that it seems that many birds were seen killed by traffic - and the presence of cats was noted. I am not sure however that this correlates with the cats killing the birds or lizards - just because the cat was there doesn't mean the cat necessarily killed the lizard or bird.

At the same time, having a group like Animal Balance working there means that the animals are in better health and less likely to have disease. It would be almost impossible to stop people owning cats and dogs as well, so it's best to ensure that they know how to do it responsibly.

11 comments:

eslina said...

Reminds me of biological xenophobia discussed in the book Redemption. If we really want to look at "nativists" point of view it can come to a full circle that humans should be decimated as well coz millions of us had caused many species to become endangered via our habitat destruction and pollution.

But of course we want to survive and will NEVER admit to the destruction we have caused... So typical of humans to simply blame others especially when the blamed species can't talk back...

calsifer said...

I like that Sea Shepherd seems to be taking an objective of the problems and that they areclear-headed enough to stick in the caveat of the authorities' will to enforce the law should their offer to help remove (not kill) all cats and dogs from the islands is taken up. Sea Shepherd is often viewed as a militant outfit and they can be quite brusque in their MO, but I'm a supporter =)... well that was a bit OT, sorry.

On the serious side, once again kudos for a great post, Dawn.

Your last two para sums up the situation so well.

"It seems that one of the problems is importation of animals - which is supposedly not allowed. While it seems that Sea Shepherd has a problem with the cats and dogs being there as well, they do not want the cats to be killed and are working with Animal Balance though they want the law on dogs and cats to be strictly enforced. What I did find interesting in the editorial as well was that it seems that many birds were seen killed by traffic - and the presence of cats was noted. I am not sure however that this correlates with the cats killing the birds or lizards - just because the cat was there doesn't mean the cat necessarily killed the lizard or bird.

At the same time, having a group like Animal Balance working there means that the animals are in better health and less likely to have disease. It would be almost impossible to stop people owning cats and dogs as well, so it's best to ensure that they know how to do it responsibly."

Again, a bit OT, but on facebook I was recently buzzed by a someone who profess to care for the world but has done nothing. This person proceeded to tell me to stop cat sterilisation and stop spreading the message even though I explained the whys and wherewithal replete with our encounters with abandoned and injured kitties. This person instead persisted in insisting that humans have no right to do such things on God's creatures and that sterilisation is castration is mutilation is denial of the cats' righ to breed.

I had no patience to try drilling into a cement wall so I gave up trying to talk to this person who also does not believe in paragraphing. I wish this person had buzzed you instead! =)

Dawn said...

well said Eslina.

Thanks Calsifer - but if you couldn't convince them I'm sure I wouldn't be able to :)

eslina said...

calsifer, I can understand your frustration. It's surprising though that this person insists that humans have no right to deny animals the right to breed but what is his/her stand on culling/killing of animals due to their increased population?

Will he/she voice out loud enough for the animals' right to live???

It is easy to talk when he/she is part of the problem but not part of the solution...

I'm amazed at some so-called "Muslims" who insists that it's a sin to sterilize (even after MUIS confirmed that it is not) but have nothing to say and won't do anything when cats are rounded up and culled.

I think Prophet Muhammad will be very ashamed at how their mind works...

Rochelle said...

Dear Dawn, I chanced upon your blog while searching for resources for the report I'm currently doing on, the profiling on Singapore SPCA...I was wondering if I could interview you on your views on SPCA? This is my email address : terrier79@hotmail.com. My name is Rochelle Yong,from Republic Polytechnic. I can see that your love for Cats are very strong, maybe I could help you bring up any of your suggestions to the SPCA for better changes, if you have.

Hope to hear from you soon!! (:

Anonymous said...

Im sure nobody wants to see any species go extinct but methods like poison and shooting are simply too barbarous. Besides,how do you know that feral cats were not scavenging the road killed animals and then getting blamed for it. Also whats going to happen to the rodent population when the cats are gone

Dawn said...

eslina - all excellent points.

Anonymous - yes exactly, and it leads to other problems, as you mentioned, the rats. I think the problem I have with this is often that cats are the scapegoat without actually seeing if it will help the situation in the long run. It seems to be let's eliminate the cats first and THEN see if it help. So what happens if it doesn't? I read in another report that they might be going after the feral goats next.

calsifer said...

Dawn,
A message or two from you would really be far more informative and educational than tons of my rants. You have that peaceful obiwan aura =)

Eslina,
I mentioned those points too. Guess what? This person say he/she understood all that BUT that it is against his/her views. Whatever, this person refuses to address all the salient points so I basically just told him/her to get out of the glassblow he/she was in and have a good look at reality and see if his/her developed-in-a-vacuum views can apply before trying to impose them on my so-called self-righteous defense and selfish perpetration of crimes on the poor cats.

btw, I have no idea what race or religion this person is, I don't even know it's a he or she :P I share your frustrations but to be fair, though they form the majority of our encounters, it's not just these so-called "Muslims"; we've known similar creatures from other religious persuasions as well. All I can say is D'OH, take a few breaths and move on.

inqcat said...

What a joke! The iguanas are precious as they are vital to the tourism industry on this island but it is precisely this tourism industry that has killed most of their iguanas.

These people at Charles Darwin Foundation need to open their eyes wider.

They think they are doing good by protecting endangered species but they forget that non-endangered species are animals that can become endangered as a result of their "eradication" too.

The CDF website says they are starting sterilisation and control, why they suddenly switched to poisoning the cats?

Quoting their statement that it is difficult to gain support for implementing cat control/TNR on the island as the natives view cats as pets not vicious killers, I wonder how they got support for MASS CULLING.

Using the easier way out of culling same as our TCs? Modern Nazi.

Dawn said...

inqcat - I believe they now are working with Animal Balance though I'm not sure if this is the case with every single island.

Animalerie Toutou said...

Great points! I learn a lot from this. This is a discussion of the principles of animal nutrition..Thanks by the way!