CJAMY. Camille Gaubert ‘s column is broadcast daily on “C Jamy”, hosted by Jamy Gourmaud from Monday to Friday at 5 pm in France 5.
They are certainly cute, but we must not forget that our cats are predators and that they cause great damage to biodiversity.
Cats kill 75 million birds in France every year
For example, in France, cats kill 75 million birds each year, according to Bird Protection League. Outside our borders, cats can also represent a real threat to biodiversity. For example, in the United States, domestic stray cats kill 1.3 to 4 billion birds and 6.3 to 22.3 billion mammals each year, according to estimates in a review of the literature published in Nature in 2013. “Ownerless cats, unlike pets, are responsible for most of this mortality“, add authors, for which cats”they are probably the largest source of human-induced bird and mammal mortality in the United States“.
A worrying case of swelling
But the problem is especially important on islands, such as our overseas departments, Australia or New Zealand, where people have introduced them as domestic animals. “The first problem is the number of cats. And another problem is that cats on these islands do not have natural predators.“, explains Elsa Bonnaud, an ecology lecturer at Paris-Saclay. When cats landed there, they attacked local species that never had to coexist with them and therefore could not adapt to survive for generations. For example, some birds are there they nest on the ground, like petrels, which makes them easier prey for our hairy friends.
A cat war is being declared in Australia
In Australia, cats kill 1.7 billion local animals each year. They also played a major role in most of the 34 recorded mammal extinctions, and threaten at least another 120. Fortunately, the reserves have saved about forty species. From 2014-2015, Australia therefore declared war on cats, whether domestic cats, many of which are to be killed in cities, or wild cats, or returned to the wild, which are killed in the Australian bush. Poisoned sausages, sterilization, curfew, many solutions are being considered. “Ideally on inhabited islands, spaying should be mandatory for domestic cats and stray cats at least housed in shelters.“says Elsa Bonnaud.
Humans, the first threat to biodiversity
But before we get there, aren’t we a little hypocritical? Because the first enemy of biodiversity is not the cat … but us humans. We are exterminating species at such a rate that biodiversity will increase at least 3 to 10 million years to recover, estimate a 2018 study, confirmed another from 2019. According to the study’s authors, if conservation measures do not improve immediately, a large proportion of mammal species will become extinct in the next 50 years.