Browsing the archives for the Threats to Wildlife category

Research Brief: “Fearing the Feline”

Despite its dramatic-sounding conclusions, UK research into the “sub-lethal effects” of cats reveals very little about real-world predator-prey dynamics or their potential impact on bird populations.
Common blackbird. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Andreas Trepte.
“A new study from British scientists has documented for the first time, significant new impacts to birds from outdoor cats,” announced [...]

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The Greater Threat Is Junk Science: An Open Letter to the AVMA

An open letter to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in response to the publication of “Cats may be greater threat to wildlife than first thought,” in the April issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:
As an advocate of trap-neuter-return working for one of that nation’s leading animal welfare organizations, Best Friends Animal [...]

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Audubon Editor Suggests Poisoning Feral Cats

Armed with the recently published “killer cat study” from the Smithsonian Biological Conservation Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TNR opponents are calling for increasingly extreme measures.
Travis Longcore was among the first, telling KCET reporter Judy Muller that “managing and controlling unowned, free-roaming cats will require euthanasia. There are not enough shelter spaces, there [...]

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Key Lie Kitties

It was easy to miss,* what with all the media attention devoted to the Smithsonian/USFWS’s “killer cat study,” published less than 24 hours later, but on January 28th, the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex (managed by USFWS) released the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Integrated Pest Management Plan. Regular readers will recall that [...]

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Stanley Temple Endorses Smithsonian/USFWS Paper

It came as some surprise, a couple weeks ago, to learn that Stanley Temple was a guest on WHYY’s Radio Times, discussing the Smithsonian’s “killer cat study.” (Full disclosure: I’ve yet to listen to the episode.) Temple was, as I’m sure most readers know, the man behind the infamous Wisconsin Study (from which, not surprisingly, [...]

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Issues of Consumption, Production, and Surplus

As I continue to drill down into the “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States”—tracking down and reading journal articles, compiling the data therein, etc.—I’m finding (not surprisingly) additional holes in the various claims made by Scott Loss, Tom Will, and Peter Marra. For example:
“Native species make up the majority [...]

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Garbage In, Garbage Out

By now—just about 72 hours after the story broke—it’s probably more difficult to find people who haven’t heard about the Smithsonian study claiming “that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually” [1] than it is to find people who’ve heard the news somewhere—the New York Times, the BBC, NPR’s All [...]

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Kitty Cams and PR Scams

In a joint media release, the American Bird Conservancy and The Wildlife Society team up to misrepresent the results of a recent predation study, decrying the “ongoing slaughter of wildlife by outdoor cats.” Meanwhile the University of Georgia researcher contradicts her previous position that “cats aren’t as bad as biologists thought.”

“To be persuasive we must [...]

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Endangered In the Florida Keys: Journalism

The witch-hunt against free-roaming cats—promoted by USFWS and others—is doing nothing to protect the threatened and endangered species in the Keys (and elsewhere). Neither is the sloppy reporting that allows the agency to mislead policymakers and the general public.

Monday’s Tampa Bay Times reported that a captive breeding program aimed at saving the [...]

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In Search of Common Ground

It’s always good to see the Humane Society of the United States supporting and promoting TNR. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago when HSUS was on the other side of the issue. In 1997, when the American Bird Conservancy launched its Cats Indoors! campaign, the organization was “singled out as its ‘principal partner [...]

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TWS + USFWS = WTF

After cancelling its public webinar in June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes its tax-funded witch-hunt against free-roaming cats on the road—and behind closed doors.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cancelled its Impacts of Free Roaming Cats on Native Wildlife webinar at the last minute, it was, we were told, due to [...]

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On Wisdom

Three African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta africana) on the Serengeti plains. Photo courtesy of Ikiwaner and Wikimedia Commons.
In the latest issue of Orion, journalist and author J.B. MacKinnon makes good on the magazine’s commitment to “inform, inspire, and engage individuals and grassroots organizations in becoming a significant cultural force for healing nature and community.”
In his essay, [...]

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Spoiled

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Webinar, “Impacts of Free Roaming Cats on Native Wildlife,” originally scheduled for today, has been postponed.
It’s still not entirely clear whether or not the Webinar, put on by the USFWS’s National Conservation Training Center, is/was open to the public. What is clear is that people are interested; indeed, it was [...]

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Spoiler Alert

Coming up this Wednesday: “Impacts of Free Roaming Cats on Native Wildlife,” a Webinar sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Registration, from what I can tell, appears to be open to the public—though I’m still awaiting a confirmation e-mail (which will include, I hope, some clarification re: time zone for this “2:00–3:00 pm” [...]

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The Feral Feeding Movement

“SF Weekly is San Francisco’s smartest publication. That’s because we take journalism seriously, but not so seriously that we let ourselves be guided by an agenda.”
At least that’s what the paper’s Website says.
Now, as somebody who reads SF Weekly only rarely, I want to be careful not to generalize. But if last week’s feature story [...]

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It’s Not the Media, It’s the Message

To hear The Wildlife Society’s staunch opponents of TNR tell it, the media’s just not interested in stories about “the impacts of free-ranging and feral cats on wildlife.”

“This January when thousands of blackbirds fell from the sky in Arkansas, articles about mass extinctions and bird conservation were a dime-a-dozen. When the Deepwater Horizon oil [...]

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Best Available Science?

After a while, I suppose, such things will no longer surprise me.
A couple weeks ago, the American Bird Conservancy released a statement in support of the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Integrated Predator Management Plan/Draft Environmental Assessment proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS):
“American Bird Conservancy, the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, [...]

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Reviving a Classic

“The cat, of all animals, is in some respects the most intimate companion of man… Nevertheless, it leads a dual existence. ‘The fireside sphinx,’ the pet of the children, the admired habitué of the drawing-room or the salon by day, may become at night a wild animal, pursuing, striking down and torturing its prey, frequently [...]

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Exceptional Predator

Using Google to translate the page’s contents, it seems this bird—despite “mock[ing] the cat and with loud cries of diving at him from the branches of acacia”—was yet another one that got away.
In the third edition of his massive book Ornithology—“the classic text for the undergraduate ornithology course,” according to the description on Amazon.com—Frank Gill [...]

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Operation Sisyphus

The draft environmental assessment (EA) for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Integrated Predator Management Plan (download PDF), released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), aims to eliminate free-roaming cats in the Keys. Not that this is anything new—FWS (along with USDA, and some state agencies) has been trying to [...]

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