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.