Recent research has revealed that Australia is heavily populated with feral cats. According to The Guardian, research published in the journal of Biological Conservation identifies that, in Australia, there is one feral cat for every one and a half square miles. There are approximately 2 to 6 million cats living in Australia, and cats are found in 99% of the country.
This amounts to a serious feral cat problem. Feral cats first came to Australia when the country was colonized, but native wildlife evolved without the threat of cats for thousands of years. Because cats weren’t a threat, wildlife, such as birds, have remained defenseless to these cats; they haven’t developed the instincts or physical adaptations to be able to protect themselves. As the cat population increases, it may mean serious trouble for birds and other species that cats prey upon. Feral cats are already being blamed for the extinction of 20 Australian species.
Reducing the cat numbers poses a serious problem. Feral cats are difficult to trap, so sterilizing them could become a monumental and long-lasting project. Building up dense habitat areas to help protect smaller animals is one potential technique, but some scientists are promoting increasing the dingo population to control the cat problem.
Is there an easy solution? No. For now, the feral cats continue to roam, unrestricted.