The Australian government is airdropping poisonous sausages across thousands of hectares of land in an effort to kill millions of feral cats, according to reports.
It is just one of the tactics used by the government as part its plan to kill two million feral cats by 2020 in order to protect native species.
The Independent (Ireland) reports “Since they were first introduced by European settlers, feral cats have helped drive an estimated 20 mammal species to extinction, Gregory Andrews, the national commissioner of threatened species told the Sydney Morning Herald.”
According to Mr Andrews, that makes feral cats the “single biggest threat” to Australia’s native species.
“We have got to make choices to save animals that we love, and who define us as a nation like the bilby, the warru (Black-footed rock-wallaby) and the night parrot,” he said.
It is estimated that cats kill 377 million birds and 649 million reptiles every year in Australia, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Biological Conservation.
More than 160,000 people signed half a dozen online petitions calling on Australia to drop the plan. Brigette Bardot wrote a letter calling on the government to stop “animal genocide”, while Morissey responded by saying “idiots rule the earth”.
The cull has also come under fire from some conservationists who argue that the government are focusing too heavily on cats, rather than addressing other factors that reduce biodiversity such as urban expansion, logging and mining.