In Australia, felines are killing birds at an alarming rate — up to one million per day — and it’s that uptick that has scientists taking quick action to prevent species extinction, says a new study published in Biological Conservation.
“Everyone knows that cats kill birds, but this study shows that, at a national level, the amount of predation is staggering,” John Woinarski of the Charles Darwin University, who led the study, says. “It is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species.”
While wild cats are predominantly the problem — they’re responsible for 316 million bird deaths–, domestic cats, too, play predator with 61 million bird deaths.
The study says the damage the cats are doing to the food chain is so profound that researchers are looking into creating “cat-free zones.”
The no-cats-allowed region would cover over 170,000 acres of desert, aiming to “give the native species a chance to avoid annihilation.”