It’s time to act on cats meow

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Funny kitten
Camera IconFunny kitten Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The City of Rockingham could soon implement cat-prohibited areas across several areas of Rockingham Lakes Regional Park.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Mark Jones asked chief executive Michael Parker to establish cat-prohibited areas to protect native wildlife by introducing provisions into the City’s Cats Local Law.

Cats found in prohibited areas may be trapped by the City, with domestic cat owners facing the prospect of fines if their pet is caught.

Cr Jones, the council’s representative on the Rockingham Lakes Regional Park Community Advisory Committee, said Australia’s pet population had a large impact on the country’s wildlife.

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He said on average each pet cat in Australia killed 186 animals each year, with that number including some 110 native animals including reptiles, birds and mammals.

“Other Local Governments like the City of Cockburn have adopted a staged approach in prohibiting cats in certain areas,” he said.

“The first stage includes prohibiting cats in conservation areas of regional parks.”

The City’s Feral Animal Control Program has found both domestic and feral cats are present in the City’s reserves posing a threat to native animals, with domestic cat numbers in reserves about double those of feral cats.

“By prohibiting access to reserves for domestic cats, the effectiveness of the Feral Animal Control Program may also improve as it will more effectively target both the domestic and feral cat colonies,” the report said.

“Given the community support to manage the negative impact of cat populations on the natural environment, the City supports the notice of motion.”

The City will need to discuss the proposal with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions as it is a joint land manger and custodian of the Rockingham Lakes Regional Parks.

The amendments can then be drafted and provided to the council to begin the local law process.

A DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson reiterated that feral and domestic cats had had significant negative impacts on WA’s native fauna populations, particularly ground-dwelling birds and small-to-medium-sized mammals.

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