When I think of my furry friend back home I never think predator. In fact, Paws, my two year old cat, is the most loveable and docile creature I have ever met. So you can imagine my surprise and shock to read that cats are the predators responsible for the fast extinction rate of Australian mammals!
I recently came across a very interesting article online that talked about how the world’s largest fence is being constructed in order to protect these mammals from feral cats. In fact, it was immensely astonishing to find out that 320 million of the bird population is made extinct by these feral cats. This article also mentions how these cats are mostly responsible for the extinction of 20 mammalian species in Australia- a huge number considering how delicate we consider these feline creatures!
In comparison to the United States, Australia has lost 29 more species and so dire action needs to be taken to address this problem. The construction of this fence is a step taken in the right direction. This fence is in an ideal location at the tip of the Great Sandy Desert which is an area which suffers a lot of losses because of cats.
However, this is a long term project as a lot needs to be done in order to construct this massive fence which is 185 kilometres long covering 70,000 hectares of land. There is also the question of it destroying the natural beauty of the land itself so all of this needs to be taken into account before building. In addition, in order to holistically solve the problem of extinction in Australia, more smaller fences will need to be built in other places.
Another aspect of concern is disturbing the natural ecosystem, as this will lead to diminished food for the cats which can perturb the energy cycle in this habitat. Furthermore, a lot of collaboration between New Haven Project Management and indigenous rangers is required. While this fence is being built, an increase in firepower in the area to drive of cats and protect wildlife would be a good idea.
It is expected, that when this area is safe as many as 11 species can be released in this region and can then hopefully flourish. I’m very optimistic about this project and I can see how it is an important step in conserving the natural biodiversity in Australia. Australia is world-renowned for its biodiversity and I was relieved to read that steps are being taken to preserve it.
Give this article a read – http://www.environmentaljournalists.org/worlds-largest-fence-being-constructed-in-central-australia/ – if you’re interested in learning more about this landmark initiative!