Poland has declared war on domestic cats. It has just included these felines on its list of invasive alien species, considering that they harm the country’s biodiversity, as reported by the Polish Academy of Sciences in a note. The institution’s scientists consider that these animals, by hunting millions of small mammals and birds, damage the Polish natural environment. Something that is aggravated by its high reproductive capacity, which favors the formation of large colonies in a very short time.
700 million prey. In fact, a study by the Warsaw University of Biological Sciences estimated in 2019 that domestic cats kill about 583 million small mammals and 135 million birds a year in Poland. “There is clear scientific evidence of the negative influence of the domestic cat on native biodiversity,” they point out from the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Implications. Despite the inclusion of cats in the list of invasive alien species, the academy has specified that it considers them negative for biodiversity, but not a threat to Poland. This represents a crucial difference, since as they are not a direct danger, the laws of that country will not force their owners to have to request permits to keep them at home or the authorities to carry out corrective measures, such as isolation, control or elimination of felines.
At the moment, the only thing that this inclusion in the list implies is that the owners must pay much more attention to the animals and ensure that they do not leave the house during the breeding season of certain types of mammals and, above all, birds.
The Australian precedent. The measure, therefore, is much less severe, at least according to information shared by the Polish Academy of Sciences, than the one Australia took three years ago. The oceanic country decreed in 2019 a systematic persecution of the colonies of feral and stray cats, with authorizations to hunters for their elimination included, with the aim of killing millions of specimens in five years.
The reason then argued by the Australian authorities is similar to that of the Polish: the cat is a pseudo-wild and non-indigenous species that was seriously endangering Australia’s biodiversity. In fact, according to experts, the felines would have wiped out 11 species of reptiles and 22 local mammals threatened in that country, and were putting another 100 in serious danger of disappearing.
It’s still our fault. Cats are considered dangerous for biodiversity because they are hunters by nature. Despite the fact that many consider them domestic animals, the truth is that they still keep their original wild character very present, and they do so because until recently we human beings have promoted it.
There is evidence that cats began to be used as domestic animals about 10,000 years ago, from the appearance of agriculture, by the civilizations of the Near East, from Egypt to Mesopotamia. The first farmers introduced them to their lands to combat the plagues of mice that devastated the crops, offering them food so that they would stay around their farms and thus, by the way, hunt down the rodents.
Dogs, on the other hand, have been with humans for 30,000 or 40,000 years and, despite the fact that they have also been used all that time for hunting and defending their owners, they are much more accustomed to man, they are much more docile and less aggressive. wild. In addition, they reproduce at a slower rate and are less able to run away from home when they please.
Image | jerry wang