Feral Cats Posing Threats to Rare Species on Amami-Oshima

Society

Kagoshima, Oct. 18 (Jiji Press)--On Amami-Oshima Island in southwestern Japan, which aims to be registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, concerns have been raised over feral cats that prey on rare species after losing their homes and moving to local mountains.

The Environment Ministry has started to catch such once-domestic cats in a bid to preserve the ecosystem on the island in Kagoshima Prefecture, inhabited by rare indigenous species such as Amami rabbits.

Under the ministry's plan, however, feral cats are set to be euthanized after capture if prospective owners are not found, leading to protests from animal care societies and other groups.

"We want to reduce the number of animals getting killed as much as possible," an official from one such group said.

According to the ministry's office in charge of nature preservation on Amami and other sources, surveillance cameras located in forests on the island since around 2008 have confirmed that the number of feral cats has increased and that the cats were preying on rare species.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press