Feral Cats to be Eliminated from San Nicolas Island

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes final decision to protect native seabirds.

Posted: April 14, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

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The Humane Society of the United States will be allowed to take any healthy adult cats from San Nicolas Island and transport them to an approved facility.
The feral cats are getting removed from San Nicolas Island for the sake of the native seabirds they hunt, the U.S. government has decided.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently unveiled the release of a final Environmental Assessment for the San Nicolas Island Seabird Restoration Project, and based on the comments received during the May-June 2008 comment period, the removal of an estimated 100-200 feral cats will proceed this year. The Navy-owned island is about 60 miles off the Southern California coast and provides nesting habitat for numerous native seabirds and shorebirds, as well as other threatened species.

Nonnative feral cats are affecting the native species on the island by preying on adult seabirds and their young, according to Fish and Wildlife Service. The public had a chance to give their input regarding the project, and a provision has been made, said Jane Hendron, spokeswoman with the Fish and Wildlife office in Carlsbad, Calif.

A change in the final project allows for the Humane Society of the United States to take any healthy adult cats from the island and transport them to an approved facility, Hendron said. All other feral cats will be trapped and euthanized.

The project calls for live trapping as the primary removal method. Specially trained dogs may be used to track the scent of feral cats, but won’t have direct contact with them.

In addition, a trap-monitoring system will minimize the time animals are stuck in traps. Ultimately, the project will restore the island’s natural balance, Hendron said.

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Reader Comments

Sam    Miam, FL

4/27/2009 10:43:40 AM

I like cats I just don't like cat people, everyone on here is illogical, cats have no business being outside, if your cats goes outside then you are an irresponsible owner who contributes to problems that are occuring on this island
oh and to all you idiots that say nature should take its course, the cats would not be there naturally, its people's fault they are there in the first place

esther    binghamton, NY

4/22/2009 5:43:49 PM

I think that it is awfull to kill all those cats

Tina    Los Angeles, CA

4/22/2009 3:09:42 PM

Another article I read stated that the problem happened because cats "wandered off from their owners". Odd because if they were fixed that wouldn't have mattered. People caused this problems and the cats are paying with their lives. Disgusting.

Vince    Morro Bay, CA

4/17/2009 1:56:05 PM

Remove the cats; restore the native insular system. Successful removal of introduced domestic animals has occurred on other islands off California and elsewhere. In this instance, the Navy is operating as responsible land stewards. If you're interested in impacts to wildlife, follow-up on the Navy's sonar testing project.

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