The population of Yelkouan Shearwater of the French island of Le Levant is seriously under threat due to the invasion of feral cats, according to a French and Spanish joint study. The archipelago is home to the main colonies of this species.See? That's a real study of the impact of cats on birds. Not just alarming numbers and hand waving.
Feral cats are considered one of the most dangerous invading species for animals native to Mediterranean Islands. . . .
"These seabirds only live on islands, which in the past were free from predators. As a result, they are agile at sea as they only eat fish and squad yet are feeble on the land," as explained by Elsa Bonnaud, lead researcher of the study in the Island Ecology and Evolution Group.
The Yelkouan Shearwater nests on the ground in small caves and is characterised by being clumsy. In other words, it cannot escape and its resources for defence are scarce because historically it has not evolved in the presence of predators. As a consequence, the cats may be causing yearly deaths of between 800 and 3200 birds. The fact that they are now the main component of the invading cat's diet could bring about the extinction of the colonies living on Le Levant.
And if it were up to me, I would handle it by killing all the feral cats. But that, it seems, is not a possible response in our gentle age:
"The best solution for all small, sparsely populated islands is to capture the cats in live traps and transport them to the continent. We did this on an island close to Le Levant, taking the cats to the vet and then giving them up for adoption. The results were excellent," states the researcher.Win-win, I guess. Maybe even cat lovers and bird lovers can find ways to get along!