SAN FRANCISCO – From endangered Asian rhinos to nearly extinct mountain yellow-legged frogs, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens’ role in protecting and conserving wildlife was the theme of its signature fundraiser, ZooFest, on Saturday, April 30. Honored guest U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke about her love of animals and decades of conservation work, including her latest effort to end poaching with the introduction of S. 27, Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act.
At the event, SF Zoo announced and unveiled the “Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blum Animal Wellness and Conservation Center,” one of the only dedicated facilities in the country to improving husbandry and well-being of Zoo animals.
SF Zoo President Tanya M. Peterson delivered remarks while holding a ball python snake, one of the Zoo’s many resident rescue animals.
“About 30 percent of our animals are rescued, which is more than most zoos in the country,” said Peterson. “Thank you to all the donors, members and guests who make it possible to not only save these animals, but communicate important conservation stories to the community for a multiplier effect.”
All funds raised at ZooFest benefit the care and comfort of the animals and help the Zoo accomplish its mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action. One generous and anonymous donor gifted $100,000 to the Mexican gray wolf exhibit. The habitat, under construction now, will help SF Zoo care for three incoming animals. Mexican gray wolves, which were nearly extinct, are part of a Species Survival Plan, and the wolves coming to the Zoo may someday be released back into the wild. Silent auction items included paintings from the inaugural Animal Artists in Residence project, which sold for nearly $50,000.
Event chairs, Elizabeth and Steven Revetria and Charlot and Gregory Malin, helped pay tribute to
the 40th Anniversary of the Zoo’s groundbreaking Nature Trail, an educational program which teaches young people to be wildlife conservation ambassadors. Attendees also viewed lions and tigers inside the Lion House and interacted with ambassador animals from the Koret Animal Resource Center, typically utilized for children’s educational purposes.
About the San Francisco Zoo
Established in 1929, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens connects people to wildlife, inspires caring for nature and advances conservation action. An urban oasis, the Zoo and Gardens are home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species as well as seven distinct gardens full of native and unusual plants. Located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard, the Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10 am to 5 pm (summer hours) and is accessible by San Francisco MUNI "L" Taraval Line.
33 lions, rescued from appalling conditions in circuses in Peru and Colombia by Animal Defenders International (ADI), surely cannot believe their eyes this morning as they roared in their first sunrise in the African bush.
A record-breaking cargo flight with all 33 lions on board jetted into Johannesburg on Saturday night. The lions, saved during an ADI mission to help enforce bans on wild animal acts in Peru and Colombia, are now settling into their forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, situated on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Many of the lions have been declawed and have broken teeth so would not survive in the wild.
During an 18-month operation in Peru, ADI raided every circus and rescued every animal. Known as Operation Spirit of Freedom, and also providing support on wildlife trafficking enforcement, 100 animals were saved – most, including bears and six different species of monkeys, were rehomed in Peru. Nine circus lions were also handed to ADI in Colombia where a ban has also been passed.
A massive ADI relocation effort began on Thursday morning in Bucaramanga in Colombia, with nine lions loaded into travel crates and travelling to Bogota by truck. The same night 24 rescued lions were loaded into travel crates in Peru and taken to Lima Airport. A huge MD11 aircraft chartered from ethical cargo company Priority Worldwide Services then flew the nine lions from Bogota to Lima where they were joined on board for a trans-Atlantic flight to Johannesburg – not without its problems due to a long delay in Brazil due to a computer problem. The lions were monitored throughout the flight by ADI President Jan Creamer, ADI Vice President Tim Phillips, and ADI veterinarian Eva Chomba. The lions arrived in South Africa on Saturday evening, bellowing out a huge roar that echoed through the aircraft as they touched down. Trucks donated by Ibubesi Transport Logistics then carried the lions to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, arriving Sunday morning.
The dawn of a new day marks their first full day of freedom under the African sun and new beginnings for the lions in the natural bush environment they now call home. Returning to the homeland their ancestors had been torn from, the lions can feel the African soil beneath their feet and the sun on their backs, protected within an environment they can be given the care they need. One of the nine lions from Colombia, Iron, was the first of the 33 to step into his forever home, clearly relishing being able to rub up against a tree, another first for the big cats who had formerly lived in cages on the back of circus trucks.
“Before ADI rescued them, these animals had never felt the grass beneath their feet or the sun over their heads, yesterday they were in the African bush. This has been a really important mission because it has eliminated circus suffering in Peru, saving future generations of animals. Getting the animals home has been exhausting and exhilarating.”
Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary: “This is their birth-right. African sun, African night skies, African bush and sounds, clouds, summer thunderstorms, large enclosures in a natural setting where they can remember who they are. We love being part of the final rescue. Knowing that ADI has changed laws means that wild animals will never again be exploited like this again in Peru and that process has begun in Colombia.”
To familiarize the big cats with their new home, the lions will initially live in “bonding camps” where families will also be reintroduced. Then, over the coming months, the lions will be released into huge habitats with platforms and watering holes, for which donations are being sought as well as the lions’ ongoing care. www.lionsbacktoafrica.org
ADI has launched an appeal to fund phase two of the lion habitats and to care for the lions for life, which for some lions could be as long as 20 years. http://bit.ly/1TjatPq
The lion flight marked the epic conclusion of the ADI rescue mission in Peru, which TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ & T Foundation helped kickstart with a major donation that enabled ADI to start raiding circuses and removing animals. The cost of the lions’ first class ticket to freedom was funded through an online campaign by ADI and GreaterGood.com, with individuals including Oakland Zoo, Dr. Lo Sprague & Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Elise Zoli, and the Facebook group ‘Lion Lovers’ stepping in to fund the $10,00 airfare of individual animals.
Businesses have also donated services and goods or discounted services to help get the lions home including Priority Worldwide Services who chartered the MD11F cargo aircraft, Spherical Logistics and Swissport International at Johannesburg Airport, and fencing manufacturer Bonnox, Lood Swanevelder Fencing, Faan Venter, Ibubesi Transport Logistics, and Chill Box (who donated a freezer room at the lions new home).
ADI and Emoya would like to thank the Peruvian Government departments, SERFOR and ATFFS, and Police and in Colombia CDMB, a regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga for enabling this incredible operation to happen.
About Animal Defenders International
Operating from Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public. www.ad-international.org
About Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary
The Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is set in 5,000 hectares of pristine African bush on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Opened by Savannah Heuser in 2012 when she was just 16 years old, the sanctuary has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public. https://www.facebook.com/EmoyaBigCats
Worldwide end to use of wild animals in traveling shows: The evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 32 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.
Video and Images of Today's Beach Release
Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Special Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.
BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), IUCN, UNEP, GEF, and the Governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar team up to safeguard endangered species
(Montreal/Cambridge/Washington, D.C., April 28, 2016)Gathered in Montreal1, leading conservation organizations have announced a new global initiative to prevent the extinction of endangered species, in partnership with the governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar.
Supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the initiative will mobilize $6.7 million to deliver a project entitled the “Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE): Conserving Earth’s Most Irreplaceable Sites for Endangered Biodiversity.”AZEis a global initiative working to prevent species extinctions by identifying and safeguarding the places where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are restricted to single remaining sites.
Birds such as theStresemann’s Bristlefront2, clinging to existence with fewer than 15 known individuals in significantly fragmented habitat in Brazil, will be targeted. The project’s focus will be the creation and improved management effectiveness of protected areas and the improved conservation status of AZE species at five demonstration sites in Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar and at an additional 10 sites globally.3
“By focusing on those sites that represent the tip of the iceberg of the extinction crisis, the Alliance for Zero Extinction is a key approach to save species from extinction,” said Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programs. “These are sites that are the last remnants for entire species. Saving the habitat is saving these fragile species."
Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Brazil,stated:“By expanding the Mata do PassarinhoReserve and working with local landowners, this initiative will provide a vital lifeline for the critically endangered Stresemann’s Bristlefront. The initiative will provide essential information to inform national species conservation efforts, by focusing effort on the last remaining habitats of endangered species.”
Neville Ash, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Director,said:“Working with the GEF and other partners, this UNEP project is the first global effort to integrate AZE as a distinct priority into conservation planning at the national level. It will scale up best practices on effective and equitable management of the world’s ecological safety nets, and has potential to have a major long-term reduction of global extinction rates, directly contributing towards CBD’s Aichi Targets 11 and 12.”
Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity,stated:“Protecting the last remaining habitats for critically endangered species is a vital strategy for preventing extinctions. The CBD Secretariat welcomes this initiative as a contribution towards global species conservation efforts.”
Diego Flores Arrate, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Chile,said: “In Chile, the initiative seeks to create conditions for the survival of three amphibian species, by protecting their habitat and reducing impacts from farming, ranching, and logging activities, considering a participatory approach with different stakeholders.”
Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, Government of Mexico,stated:“Mexico is a strong supporter of the Alliance for Zero Extinction. As host of the CBD COP this year, Mexico welcomes the role of the AZE initiative in informing global species conservation efforts.”
Michael Parr, Chairman of AZE and Chief Conservation Officer for American Bird Conservancy,said: “AZE presents an ambitious but realistic plan to address Earth’s pending extinction crisis. This is a team effort that ultimately needs to involve all of us. The time for action is now.”
Pepe Clarke, Head of Policy, BirdLife International,stated:“This initiative is particularly important as it links local conservation action to national and international policy. We are truly honoured to be working with the Governments of Brazil, Chile and Madagascar.”
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Birding Gets Up Close and Personal
From attention-grabbing mating displays to musical songs, vibrant color patterns and intricate nesting behaviors, it’s easy to see why a recent USDA Forest Service National Survey on Recreation and the Environment found that 85 million Americans are fascinated by birds. They attend classes, enter competitions, join clubs, invest in expensive gear, post on social media, and, of course, spend hours behind a pair of binoculars.
Did You Know?
But for all this work, even experienced birders may never see the intimate lives of the species they observe. And popular birding literature focuses more on helping birders add to their life lists than on showing what makes each species unique: the sometimes endearing, sometimes peculiar, often astonishing details that make up their daily lives. Until now. With Into the Nest, birding experts Laura Erickson and Marie Read present beautiful, close-up photographs and text that capture each dramatic and spectacular stage of the family lives of birds, from courtship through mating, nest construction, egg-laying, parenting on the nest, nestling, feeding time, and, finally, the first triumphant flight of the fledglings.
With its careful documentation of life stages of common birds and its never-before-seen shots, Into the Nest offers a unique perspective on a popular American pastime. Now beginning birders and seasoned experts alike can experience the private lives of their favorite species — from the dramatic “sky dances” of courting Bald Eagles to the gentle berry exchanges between Cedar Waxwing parents, from Downy Woodpecker chicks developing inside their tree cavity to a Warbler feeding a Cowbird chick twice her size.
Laura Erickson is the author of seven bird books and has served as an editor of BirdScope magazine and a columnist and contributing editor for BirdWatching magazine, as well as a contributor to the All About Birds website. She recently won the American Birding Association’s prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
Marie Read is the author of three books, and her photographs and articles have been featured in magazines including BirdWatching, Birds & Blooms, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and National Geographic. She lives in Freeville, New York.
Into the Nest
Laura Erickson and Marie Read
Storey Publishing, April 2015
208 pages; 9 ¾" x 8 ½"
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$16.95 Paper; ISBN 978-1-61212-229-8
Don’t Let Hawaii Spread Deadly Poison That Could Kill Cats and Other Animals!
We need your help! Animals and people in Hawaii are in danger.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources are considering a plan to kill rat and mongoose populations by aerially and manually spreading deadly poison. This poison would indiscriminately affect all wildlife, poison the water supply, and potentially even make its way to humans.
The poison is an anticoagulant, which causes victims to hemorrhage and slowly bleed to death. The poison could be ingested by any animal, including cats, either directly or by eating a poisoned animal. The plan also includes live traps, kill traps, and multi-kill devices, which will harm non-target animals, too.
Comments on the plan are open until Thursday, April 7.
Below is a template with important points to make. We highly encourage you to comment in your own words and make your voice heard.
I oppose this experimental plan because it is irresponsible and highly dangerous for animals and humans. Indiscriminately spraying poison will not just affect the target animals, but all animals in the area who could come into contact with the poison directly or indirectly by eating poisoned animals. Pets, other wildlife, and even people will be endangered.
The poisons could end up in the ocean and water supply and do further damage to wildlife and plant life, and even work their way up the human food chain. Even worse, the suggested chemicals are anticoagulants, which cause animals to suffer and bleed to death slowly. The mechanical methods being considered are also cruel and highly ineffective. Kill traps and multi-kill devices do not discriminate and endanger all wildlife.
I don’t want to live, visit or vacation in a place where the government is recklessly spreading deadly poisons. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources must go back to the drawing board and come up with humane, sound methods.
All comments must be submitted here. Click the ‘Comment Now!’ button in the upper right corner to create your own message. You can copy and paste the text above but again, we encourage you to write your own words with these points in mind.
Spreading poison could cause lasting damage to Hawaii’s animals and environment, and goes against the Hawaii spirit of love, peace and compassion. Comment on the plan and tell the Fish and Wildlife Service that you don’t want to live, visit or vacation in a place where deadly poison puts humans and animals in danger.
Founder and President, Alley Cat Allies
P.S. Please share this with your friends and family. We need as many voices as possible to stop this deadly plan from happening.
Successful Crowdfunding Campaign and Corporate Donations Make Cam Possible
Annapolis, Md. – Following a successful crowdfunding campaign and corporate donations, the Chesapeake Conservancy today announced the launch of its third wildlife webcam. In addition to the osprey and peregrine falcon cams, visitors to the Chesapeake Conservancy’s website can now also enjoy a Great Blue Heron cam (heron cam). The live-streaming webcam found at chesapeakeconservancy.org/blue-heron-webcam, gives viewers around-the-clock coverage of a heron rookery located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“We’re thrilled with this chance to share these majestic birds with the public. We often see Great Blue Herons soaring in the sky or hunting fish by the water’s edge, but rarely do we get to see them up close and at home in their rookery. We’re so grateful for the more than 100 people whose donations have made this possible and to the homeowner who is lucky enough to have this magnificent habitat in their backyard and is willing to share it with the world,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said.
“The Chesapeake Conservancy uses technology to connect, conserve and restore the Chesapeake. Through our wildlife webcams and virtual tours of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, we hope technology will help connect people to the Chesapeake Bay,” Dunn continued. “People see these iconic species and fall in love with them. They see how the birds interact with their habitats and it creates a desire to support conservation efforts such as Maryland’s Program Open Space and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect the ecosystems that sustain these and all wildlife in the region.”
A private homeowner contacted the Chesapeake Conservancy last month expressing an interest in sharing the rookery located on their property with the world via a webcam. For the last ten years, the property has been home to between 10 and 12 nests, and as many as 50 herons, 100 feet off the ground in loblolly pine trees.
Logistics moved quickly as the herons were soon to return to the rookery to mate and incubate their eggs. The Chesapeake Conservancy turned to the public for financial support to launch the new webcam by crowdfunding through a gofundme.com campaign. To date, more than $6,500 has been raised from more than 100 donors, ranging from $5 to $500. While the Chesapeake Conservancy will continue to fundraise to support and maintain the cam, this was enough to get the cam up and running.
The cam is powered by Mediacom, who donated equipment and Internet services for the live-stream. Skyline Technology Solutions, Inc., based in Glen Burnie, MD, provided a discounted installation rate and equipment. Skyline also supports the Chesapeake Conservancy’s osprey and peregrine falcon cams. Axis Communications also provided discounted equipment. Generously, a tree company based in Rehobeth, DE, donated their services to mount the cam in the 100-foot-tall pine.
Heron cam features a wider-angle view to capture activity from multiple nests, as well as infrared night vision to see in darkness. Currently, two nests can be seen on the camera, and one is home to two herons alternating incubation of their eggs. It is believed that the eggs are due to hatch in mid-April. The homeowner has named the couple “Rell & Eddie” after the surfers Rell Sunn and Eddie Aikau, both deceased but not forgotten.
“Another nest featured more prominently on the cam seems to be serving as a ‘supply closet’ for the heron rookery. I jokingly call the visitors ‘great blue bandits’ as they periodically land there to ‘steal’ sticks for their own nests. It is quite a surprise when one of the bandits land,” Chesapeake Conservancy Director of Communications Jody Couser said. “The pines sway in the breeze and sometimes, when it’s windy, I wonder how the eggs will stay in the nest. At night, you can often hear an owl nearby.”
“Mediacom is proud to partner with the Chesapeake Conservancy to help bring the natural beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore to bird watchers around the world,” said Pat Hynes, Mediacom’s Director of Area Operations. “This initiative is a shining example of how Mediacom’s innovative high-speed Internet technology positively impacts the communities we serve.”
"Skyline Technology Solutions is pleased to partner with the Chesapeake Conservancy on a third wildlife webcam. It's exciting to see our technology help connect people with nature and benefit the conservation movement,” Aaron Kahn, business development, Skyline Technology Solutions, Inc., said.
The Chesapeake Conservancy currently hosts two successful webcams featuring osprey and peregrine falcons, which have each attracted more than a million views a year from around the world. "Tom and Audrey," are Kent Island's celebrity osprey couple, and peregrines "Boh and Barb " live in downtown Baltimore on the Transamerica skyscraper.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s website, great blue herons live in colonies called rookeries. These tall, bluish-gray wading birds have long, pointed bills and graceful, S-shaped necks. They live year-round in marshes and wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and are also found on freshwater lakes, ponds and impoundments. The great blue heron grows to 4 feet tall with a 6 to 7 foot wingspan. Despite its large size, its hollow bones allow it to weigh only 5 to 6 pounds. The great blue heron eats mostly fish, but will also feed on insects, amphibians, crustaceans and other small animals. It silently stalks its prey in shallow waters, and then plunges its bill into the water to capture it. It will spend about 90 percent of its waking hours hunting for food.
The Chesapeake Conservancy's mission is to strengthen the connection between people and the watershed, conserve the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake's unique natural and cultural resources, and restore landscapes, rivers, and habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region. http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org.
Mediacom Communications Corporation is the eighth largest cable operator in the U.S. serving about 1.3 million customers in smaller markets primarily in the Midwest and Southeast through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Mediacom Broadband LLC and Mediacom LLC. Mediacom offers a wide array of information, communications and entertainment services to households and businesses, including video, high-speed data, phone, and home security and automation. Through Mediacom Business, the company provides innovative broadband solutions to commercial and public sector customers of all sizes, and sells advertising and production services under the OnMedia brand. More information about Mediacom is available at www.mediacomcc.com.
Skyline Technology Solutions: Skyline Technology Solutions (Skyline) is the leading IT Solutions provider in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Skyline listens to our customers first to determine the best approach and provides a broad selection of cutting edge technology to deliver comprehensive solutions. Leveraging our extensive IP networking experience, Skyline has the expertise to deliver both server and cloud-based products tailored to meet our customer needs. Further information about Skyline and our solutions can be found at www.skylinenet.net.
Maintaining Feral Cat Colonies at Jones Beach Puts Piping Plovers at Risk
ABC's lawsuit asserts that Endangered Piping Plovers are at risk from feral cats at Jones Beach State Park, New York. Photo © Michael Stubblefield
(Washington, D.C. March 31, 2016)American Bird Conservancy (ABC) today filed suit in federal court against the New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (Parks Office) over the continued presence of feral cat colonies at Jones Beach State Park. The colonies exist in close proximity to the nesting sites ofPiping Plovers, a species listed as "Threatened" in the Atlantic Coast region under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). New York State’s own Endangered Species Act lists the species as “Endangered.”
In a March 17, 2015 letter to ABC, the Parks Office acknowledged the presence of feral cats at Jones Beach and agreed that "our goal should be the removal of feral cats within New York State Parks." Yet no significant action has been taken. “The endangered plovers are already arriving for the 2016 breeding season and are being placed at an unacceptable risk," said Grant Sizemore, Director of ABC’sInvasive Species Programs.
ABC's complaint seeks an injunction to require that the Parks Office remove the feral cats from Jones Beach and follows a Notice of Intent to Sue submitted on Dec. 1, 2015.
“We regret that legal action is our only recourse,” said Mike Parr, ABC's Chief Conservation Officer. “We would far prefer to settle this out of court.” He added, “The park has placed ‘no pets’ signs at its parking lots, yet allows cats to be fed in the same areas. It makes no sense to prevent one but allow the other.”
The State has long accommodated multiple feral cat colonies at Jones Beach in spite of the known risks to Piping Plovers. The Parks Office has allowed structures to be built to house the cats, and it permits local residents to feed them routinely.
In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) identified feral cats as a threat to Piping Plovers in the species’ Atlantic Coast range, which includes Jones Beach. As FWS stated in itsreport, “Recent research and reports indicate that predation poses a continuing (and perhaps intensifying) threat to Atlantic Coast Piping Plovers.”
Plover chicks are especially vulnerable to predation before they are able to fly. Photo by Venu Challa
The FWS recognized that Piping Plovers are especially vulnerable to feral cats. Adult birds often feign a broken wing to distract predators, putting them at high risk of predation from non-native species. Plover chicks also move around the beach for approximately 25 days before they are able to fly, during which time they are especially vulnerable to cats.
Although many cats are beloved pets, free-roaming and feral cats are non-native predators that kill approximately2.4 billion birdsannually in the U.S. A single feral cat can kill, on average, from 20 to 55 birds a year. Responding to this threat, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last yearvetoedlegislation that would have supported “Trap, Neuter, Release” programs that support feral cat colonies, citing the impacts these cats can have “on wildlife, including on threatened and endangered species, habitats, and food sources for native predators.”
“Feeding feral cats, as happens at Jones Beach, does not eliminate their instinct to hunt,” said Sizemore. “And in fact, the mere presence of cats has been shown to have significant adverse effects on breeding birds. Even when cats do not directly kill wildlife, they disrupt nesting and feeding behaviors.” One 2013 studyshowed as much as a 33 percent reduction in feeding of nestlings after cats made even a brief appearance near breeding areas.
American Bird Conservancy is being represented byGoodwin Procter LLPon a pro bono basis.
American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.