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New Zealand village plans pet cat ban to save native birds

/ 03:31 PM August 31, 2018

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Environmental authorities in a New Zealand village proposed a ban on pet cats to help protect the native bird species found in its surroundings.

Environment Southland proposed to ban pet cats in the village of Omaui because they posed a danger to several species of native birds found in the area, reports Newshub.

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The proposal would require existing cats in the village to be neutered, microchipped and registered to Environmental Southland. Once the felines have lived out their lives, their owners would be prohibited from getting a new cat.

“So your cat can live out its natural life at Omaui happily doing what it’s doing,” says biosecurity operations manager Ali Meade. “But then when it dies, you wouldn’t be able to replace it.”

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However, cat-loving Omaui residents did not fully agree with the proposal despite having claimed to understand the reason for the proposal, according to a report by Otago Daily Times.

Resident Nico Jarvis said her cat helps to control the rodent problem in the area. She recounted how rodents would chew at her house and keep coming in from the bush no matter how many she trapped or poisoned.

”If I cannot have a cat, it almost becomes unhealthy for me to live in my house,” said Jarvis.

Jarvis planned to petition with fellow residents for a halt to the ban.

Meanwhile, Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust chairman John Collins believed Omaui just wasn’t a good place for cats because of its “high-value conservation area” status.

‘We’re not cat haters, but we want our environment to be wildlife-rich,” said Collins. ”Native wildlife is disappearing rapidly around the country and places like this where people still live and enjoy and hear the birdsong are probably few and far between.”

As price for non-compliance with the ban, cat-owners may end up losing their beloved pets.

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Submissions for the Southland regional pest management plan can be made until Oct. 23.  Alfred Bayle /ra

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TOPICS: ban, native species, New Zealand, Pet cat
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