Topics: Feral cat eradication
Greg Hunt, the Federal Environment Minister is on the line. Mr Hunt, good afternoon.
And good afternoon Ben. I'm actually calling from inside the boundaries of the Werribee, or Western Treatment sewerage treatment plant in Melbourne, where believe it or not they've got extraordinary numbers – over 250 species of birds, so it's where we've been looking at some of the incredible threatened species.
We know the importance of saving those threatened species, but how are you going to get rid of all these feral cats?
Look, their primary method is baiting, and there are two baits that we've got – there's Curiosity and Eradicat.
Basically they select the – they're selective in that they really only target cats, they screen out other animals – the way they've been created, and they put the cats to sleep and the cats pass away whilst they're asleep.
And these aren't family pets, these are animals in the wild that on average take four native species a day.
So if you take one out you save 1400 native species a year, and so this is really important.
We're all up facing the best part of 20 million feral cats in Australia, and they're the biggest threat, the single biggest threat, to Australian wildlife.
Did I hear you correctly that one of these cat baits is called Curiosity?
Correct. So it's some scientists with a sense of humour.
So how do we know that the family cat is not going to end up dying as a result of this baiting program?
Because this is focused in rural areas, in areas outside of our cities – it's not in the cities at all.
What happens is that you get the cats that are out there, they breed, they become a super cat as it were, and they are just literally destroying Australian wildlife and native species.
And so it's time to do something about it.
The RSPCA, the Humane Society, all of the groups with interest in animal welfare and animals say that this is exactly the sort of thing that has to happen otherwise our native species will go into decline.
But where it has been happening, where we have been – the other thing we can do is trap and dispose of the animals humanely – you're seeing a recovery in pygmy possum, you're seeing a recovery in bandicoots and Australian natives.
So there's a direct relationship. Eradicate the feral cat; bring back and improve and protect the Australian native animals.
Thanks for your time Minister.
Thanks a lot Ben.