how many birds do cats kill in australia

Number ‘staggering’, researchers say – and likely to be driving the decline of threatened native species

More than 1 million native Australian birds are killed across the country by cats every day, new research shows.

The study, published in the journal Biological Conversation, estimates feral cats kill 316 million birds a year, while pet cats kill 61 million birds annually. More than 99% are native.

“Everyone knows that cats kill birds, but this study shows that, at a national level, the amount of predation is staggering, and is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species,” said the lead researcher, Prof John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University.

Assoc Prof Sarah Legge of the Australian National University said the researchers had combined data from previous studies.

It was the first study to look at the nationwide impact cats were having on Australia’s birds, Legge said. “We also looked at the traits that were more likely to make a bird susceptible to cats.”

Small- to medium-sized birds, birds that nest and hunt on the ground, and those found on remote islands or arid areas are most at risk.

The scientists estimate there are about 11 billion native birds across the country, suggesting that cats kill about 4% of the population annually.

“We found records of cats killing 338 species of native birds, of which 71 were threatened species,” Legge said. “That’s about 60% of the threatened species in Australia.”

The acting threatened species commissioner, Sebastian Lang, said the government had already sunk more than $30m into projects to reduce the feral threat.

“Responsible pet owners can help reduce the impact of domestic cats by desexing them and keeping them indoors or in a cat run,” Lang said. “These are great ways to protect our wildlife that can also improve the wellbeing of domestic cats.”

According to the study, which was published in the journal Biological Conversation, 61 million birds are killed annually by pet cats, compared to 316 million by feral cats. More than 99% are native.

The lead researcher, Prof. John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University, stated, “Everyone knows that cats kill birds, but this study shows that, at a national level, the amount of predation is staggering and is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species.”

The government has already invested more than $30 million in initiatives to lessen the feral threat, according to Sebastian Lang, the acting threatened species commissioner.

Researchers call the number “staggering” and believe it is the primary cause of the decline in threatened native species.

Scientists project that there are approximately 2011 billion native birds in the nation, with estimates indicating that cats kill roughly 4% of the population each year.

Newhaven, a region in northwest Australia roughly one-third the size of the United States, is home to 23 ecosystems. S. The 1,023 square mile Yellowstone National Park is home to red-rock escarpments, salt lakes, and sand dunes. The centerpiece of the sanctuary is a 36-square-mile fenced reserve where feral cats—those that escaped from homes or were the offspring of cats transported to Australia by convict ships—were removed by Ellis and her colleagues from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to make room for the recovery of native species.

For Marra, the contrast between the U. S. and Australia regarding cats couldn’t be more apparent: Although the Australian federal parliament ordered a report that acknowledged the severity of the nation’s cat problem and called for action, he claims those who identify cats as a significant conservation issue in the U.S. S. are shouted down. “Everyone in Australia is adopting cats because they realize they are at the cutting edge of this conservation issue,” Marra says.

Newhaven is on the front line in Australia’s fight to protect its native animals from cats. With time running out for many species, this February, Australia’s federal parliament released a report that confirmed that cats were the primary drivers of mammal extinctions in the country. The report asserted that Australia leads the world with 34 such species wiped out and a further 74 land mammal species under threat. Faced with this crisis, the report launched “Project Noah,” a plan to increase the number of exclosures like Newhaven. The report also recommended greater cooperation between all levels of government in dealing with Australia’s feral and pet cats.

According to Woinarski, “Australia’s biodiversity is unique and special, forged over millions of years of isolation.” “Many mammal species that have survived are now threatened and their populations are declining, having shrunk to a tiny fraction of their former range.” If left unchecked, cats would keep devouring most of the remaining Australian wildlife. ”.

These opinions, however, are still uncommon in Australia’s scientific community, and the parliamentary report disapproved of trap-neuter-release as a method of cat control. Advocates of this procedure, the report found, “do not take into account the continuing effects on native wildlife when cats that have undergone desexing are released.” ”.


How many birds are killed by cats in us?

In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. Although this number may seem unbelievable, it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats.

Why are feral cats such a problem in Australia?

Many Australian animals simply cannot survive where there is predation by feral cats. Feral cats also threaten 19 migratory birds listed under international conventions. The main impact of feral cats is through direct predation, but cats also spread diseases that affect, humans, livestock and our wildlife.

How many birds do cats kill in England?

In the United Kingdom, cats kill approximately 27 million birds each spring and summer. The most recent study done in Australia in 2017 estimated that cats killed an average of 1 million birds per day, about 377 million per year.

How many species have cats made extinct in Australia?

Feral cats have already directly contributed to extinctions of more than 20 of our Australian mammals, like the rusty numbat, the desert bandicoot, the broad-faced potoroo and the crescent nailtail wallaby. We will never see these remarkable animals again. And they are implicated in another eight mammal extinctions.