Cats kill up to 20 billion animals in US every year
|photo credit istockphoto|
The new study follows the release in January, 2013, of a new, widely-reported, peer-reviewed study by scientists from two of the world's leading science and wildlife organizations - the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) - which found that bird and mammal mortality caused by outdoor cats in the United States is much higher than has been widely reported, with annual bird mortality now estimated to be 1.4 to 3.7 billion and mammal mortality likely 6.9 - 20.7 billion individuals.
That study's estimate of bird mortality far exceeds any previously estimated U.S. figure for cats. In fact, this magnitude of mortality may exceed all other direct sources of anthropogenic bird and mammal mortality combined. Other bird mortality sources include collisions with windows, buildings, communication towers, and vehicles, as well as pesticide poisoning.
The study estimated that the median number of birds killed by cats annually is 2.4 billion and the median number of mammals killed is 12.3 billion. About 69 percent of the bird mortality from cat predation and 89 percent of the mammal mortality was from un-owned, or feral, cats.
Free-ranging cats on islands have caused or contributed to 33 (14 percent) of the modern bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions recorded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
The study was peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology (January 30, 2013). The study was led by Karl Evans of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield in collaboration with his PhD student Colin Bonnington and Kevin Gaston of the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter.
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I love kitties, but I love birds too! That's why my cat is indoors and the birds are in their own rooms, unless supervised. At the very least, put a bell on your outdoor cat... although that won't save fledglings.