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Australian government declares 'war' on feral cats



The federal government is declaring "war" on feral cats and Australians are now urged to have their say.

Public consultation has opened today on a new action plan to stop the devastation feral cats wreak on native wildlife.

Cats kill two billion reptiles, birds and mammals every year in Australia – almost six million every night.

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Feral cats have played a role in two thirds of mammal extinctions over the past 200 years and currently threaten over 200 nationally listed threatened species, including the greater bilby, numbat, and Gilbert's potoroo.

Recent global research found that cats were the most destructive invasive alien species in Australia by far, with Flinders University estimating they caused about $19 billion of damage each year.

As well as killing native animals themselves, feral cats also compete with native predators for food and can carry deadly diseases.

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The government has already invested millions in eradication programs, and is investing in other projects such as a new bait that won't harm native animals.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said feral cats were "walking, stalking, ruthless killers".

"If we don't act now, our native animals don't stand a chance," she said.

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"We are declaring war on feral cats. And today, we are setting up our battle plan to win that war."

The plan will be open to public consultation until December this year. You can read it and have your say here.

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