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What threatens our wildlife
29.06.06 10:17 pm8 comments
According to the above graph put out by the Australian Goverment cats threaten more bird and mammal species than foxes; we are surely over run with feral cats so all the hype about foxes must be magnified when applied to cats.
As a very well known English gamekeeper once said to me “I would rather have ten foxes on my ground than one bad feral cat, it takes a very smart fox to catch a pheasant in the day time, but they are very vunerable at night when roosting in trees and cats are so arboreal and no tree presents a problem to them”.
Even our endemic native hen sleeps out in knee deep water of a night to escape predators and is very adapt at staying alive, so all the hype about foxes wiping out the native hen population is that, just hype.
I have great respect for our own spotted tailed quoll, a more efficient predator you would not find, comparable to the European Pine Marten. I have seen spotted tailed quolls catch ring tailed possum in the trees at night so I think the much maligned and exaggerated fox will have the job in front of him to ever become number one predator in Tasmania.
But then again it is the mentality of our National Park people to hate any creature that is not indigenous to this state and I guess it gives them something to do.
Stats of this sort are of relatively little use alone unless you also compare how severe a threat foxes and cats are in each case. (I don’t know the answer once this is taken into account, but I would like to.)
In the Tasmanian context it’s fairly irrelevant because cats are long-established and beyond practical control in most areas while there may be still some hope of knocking foxes over or at least keeping their numbers well down.
Also no general conclusions about the overall ecological damage done by any of these critters should be drawn from the graph - confined as it is to certain prey groups which are not the primary prey groups of the other three pests shown.
Kevin the graph has nothing to do with prey groups, it states the number of species threatened by the over all effect of these animals in the environment.
Last time I checked rabbits and goats ate grass and plant material, pigs were omnivorous.
Cats and foxes are both well established on the Ausralian mainland and are both recognised under the EPBC act as key threatening processes.
For any one to suggest the Tasmanian situation is different is ridiculous.
My point about prey groups was that rabbits, being herbivores, would threaten plant species that are not shown on the graph. Pigs are a threatening factor for some invertebrates. Carnivorous species like cats and foxes threaten more birds and mammals, but that alone does not prove they are more serious issues than rabbits.
Foxes certainly will be a significant threatening process in Tasmania if they become firmly established, as cats already are. In my view, foxes could easily become a more significant issue than cats. My point was that the threat posed by foxes may still be capable of practical control.
Feral cats are out of control and most of the talk about eradicating them is sheer wishful thinking.
I am curious as to what the poster thinks the graph demonstrates.
What the graph demonstrates to me is a visual comparison put out by Environment Australia which clearly shows that cats threaten more species of birds and mammals than do foxes.
My point being let’s have a bit of expenditure balance between foxes and cats, let’s all be aware of the impact cats have on the environment, withdraw from this denial that seems ingrained in the Government Departments here in Tasmania and seize the nettle and do something!
Kevin and I both agree feral cats are out of control and many, many other people also agree, surely something needs to be done, and sure the issue is very politically sensitive but if the power goes off someone has to light the candle.
I am sure if we had feral dogs roaming the Tasmanian country side there would be an uproar, the fox eradication promoters would scream blue murder and something would certainly be done.
Toxoplasmosis, which is only spread by cats and causes abortion in sheep surely alone is justification for farmers to be concerned.
“I am sure if we had feral dogs roaming the Tasmanian country side there would be an uproar…”
Oh, but we do have feral dogs roaming the state. Check the front page of Friday’s (30/6/06) “The Advocate”.
In case you missed it, A Stowport Alpacca and rare breeds Sheep farm were paid a rather unpleasant visit by a pack of feral dogs. The result was quite nasty, and the owners, whom I know personally, are considering shutting down their enterprise altogether as they cannot bear putting their animals through this trauma again.
Thanks Tassie Smurf, I missed that one. I will follow it up to satisfy my own curiosity. At the risk of guessing in that area I would say the culprits would be uncontrolled domestic dogs with irresponsible owners that should face prosecution.
“At the risk of guessing in that area I would say the culprits would be uncontrolled domestic dogs with irresponsible owners that should face prosecution.”
You are most probably right, Ian, about the dogs being of the “uncontrolled” domestic variety and, yes, the owners should be prosecuted.
It’s not the first time this has happened in the general area. If memory serves me well, a similar incident occurred at or near Doctor’s Rocks (near Wynyard) some months ago with a similarly large number of stock lost.
Anyway, this is going a little off-topic. Just thought this story would be of interest to some here.
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