Human Activities are most Serious Threat to Wildlife
The number one issue in wildlife decline is not feral cats, but rather the ongoing habitat destruction caused by development and other activities associated with human population growth.
John Terborgh of Duke University said, "The global environmental crisis has caught up with migratory birds. There are simply too many people making ever-increasing demands on a fixed supply of resources. We can't continue on the same reckless path for long."
The Audubon Society reports that urban expansion and loss of open space have put some 25 percent of bird species in the United States in trouble. Among the threats to birds are skyscrapers, cellular towers and West Nile Virus. The major, reputable studies on avian and wildlife population declines all point to the causes - habitat loss, drought and dangerous levels of insecticides and pesticides.
Pressures from a human population of more than 6.2 billion have put about 12 percent of the world's 9,800 bird species at risk of extinction, according to the Worldwatch Institute.
Feral cats are being made the scapegoat for human refusal to curb the activities that are driving many species to extinction.
How does trap/neuter/release work? Because cats are territorial, spayed and neutered cats won't allow other cats into their area. The result is fewer cats in the neighborhood and no new kittens being born. However, if cats are trapped and euthanized, other fertile cats simply move into the neighborhood.
I'll stand for a humane solution that is within our grasp, to achieve a positive, visible, caring result now -- one that will, in the long run, at least make my community more inviting to the restoration of songbird populations, rather than require hundreds of cats to die for their lesser sins.
Perhaps humankind is the predator that mother earth should most fear.
Barbara McGrady, President
Society for the Protection of Animals Inc.
Originally published Wednesday, September 10, 2003