Feral Cats

Feral Cats

Cats are believed to be responsible for the extinction of several species of animals.

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Australia has a feral cat problem — and that's bad news for quite a few animals.

According to a new study, the wild felines, which kill an estimated 75 million native animals per night, are responsible for the extinction of several species of mammals. Feral cats in Australia pose a problem for about 100 species of mammals, particularly those that have been classified as "threatened" by conservationists.

"At least one, and probably two, Australian mammals have been made extinct in the last decade, and if current trends continue many of the 55 threatened species will disappear within our lifetimes," study co-author John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University told the Agence France-Presse.

Woinarski and his co-authors — Andrew Burbidge and Peter Harrison — spent three years compiling an extensive assessment on the conservation status of all Australian mammals and concluded that the extinction of mammals in the country is 40 percent higher than previously thought.

"Everybody knows about iconic species like the platypus, echidna, and koala, and the fact that the Tasmanian Thylacine is extinct. But there's much less public knowledge and understanding of small nocturnal mammals" Burbidge, who serves as chair of the Western Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee, told The Australian. "We have an almost unbelievable ¬extinction rate, yet it's not high in the minds of the public. That's one of the reasons for this book."

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