Tuesday, August 11, 2009

San Nicolas Island Cats Granted a Reprieve



A few months ago, I blogged about the feral cats living on San Nicolas island off the coast of California; well, I’m happy to report the killing has ceased, and the Navy (there is a Navy base on the island) is working with the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and a local cat sanctuary to relocate a number of the cats!

(San Nicolas cat (c)HSUS)

For centuries, people took cats to islands worldwide as pets, to control other introduced species, or by accident. Within the last decade, nearly 50 such islands have been the site of feral cat eradication campaigns, with mixed results. On only one—San Nicolas—have cats been spared death by poisoning, trapping, hunting or the deliberate introduction of disease. According to the HSUS website, “this is because The HSUS, the U.S. Navy, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and several other state and federal agencies involved with oversight for the Montrose Settlements Restoration Programs on the islands agreed to an alternative approach. To ensure both protection for cats and protection for native species on the island, including the unique Channel Island fox and the federally threatened island night lizard, The HSUS has agreed to accept cats from San Nicolas and place them in a permanent sanctuary at [their] Ramona facility.”

So far, 16 feral cats have been transported from San Nicolas island to the sanctuary. Since being relocated, two females have given birth, and the kittens will be socialized before being placed into adoptive homes.

Thank you, HSUS and ACR members who contacted government officials, for helping these cats and for hopefully setting precedent that alternatives to killing do exist. In the end, it is humans who create such situations, the animals (regardless of species) do not ask to be relocated to islands (or where ever), so the least we can do is show them some compassion in managing their populations.