Are cats having an ‘apocalyptic’ effect on the environment?

BBC Springwatch star Chris Packham stirred controversy last week after claiming that domestic cats could have an ‘apocalyptic’ impact  on the environment.

In an interview with Radio Times magazine he said: “In Australia, introduced species such as foxes, rabbits, rats and cats have had an apocalyptic impact.

“They’ve decimated the indigenous fauna and as a direct consequence the natural ecosystems of this continent have been damaged.

“In urban areas, cats are the culprits and when they go feral they wreak havoc in the countryside, killing bandicoots, wallabies, quolls and bettongs; the intricate relationships of the entire ecosystem are destroyed and it collapses and dies.

“Although it’s in a very different part of the world, it makes you wonder what an impact Tibbles has on our own beleaguered, battered and badly damaged ecosystems.”

According to Packham, over 200 million creatures are killed by domestic cats each year. This figure could be reduced by as much as 50 percent if owners introduced a ‘cat curfew’, he says.

In response to horrified cat owners’ complaints, he added: “I love cats, I think they are beautiful, a wonderful predator. But what’s the point of feeding birds in the garden if you’re feeding them to your cat?”

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