Other Animals

Cat People vs. Bird People — Now It’s a Federal Case

Around 30 feral cat shelters are set up in a state park where a threatened species of bird lives. By: kho

A battle between cat lovers and bird lovers has ballooned into a federal lawsuit.

The birds, piping plovers, return to Jones Beach State Park in New York after winter to nest. Because of coastal development, the species has declined and become endangered.

The nesting place in the park has become problematic because of a pair of feral cat colonies there. Local feral cat advocates insist the birds are fed daily and have no need to hunt, while bird advocates maintain that feeding the cats doesn’t eliminate their natural hunting instinct. Because the birds nest in the ground, they and their offspring are more easily hunted.

Grant Sizemore, director of the American Bird Conservancy, says, “This is a natural nesting habitat for piping plovers” and the cats “should be removed.” The conservancy filed the suit against state parks commissioner Rose Harvey.

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By: Mdf
The piping plover, shown here as a chick, is endangered in New York. By: Mdf

The conflict has been simmering for more than a decade. Harvey previously said the feral cat shelters would be disassembled and the cats removed in 2015.

Sizemore maintains he doesn’t want the cats euthanized — just removed from the area. “The key point is that they must be separated from the environment,” he says.

It will be interesting to monitor this case and see whether the feather or fur advocates declare victory.

Source: The Washington Post

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