27 Nov 2009
I am up in Donegal for a few days and was delighted to hear the news that on Tory Island there has been a cull of feral cats. Tory Island is one of the last remaining outposts for the Corncrake and the fact that the numbers of calling males had dropped from 34 calling males to 9 last year it was imperative that something had to be done. So I am very glad to see Birdwatch Ireland organised the cull. They first of all photographed all the pet cats and gave them collars before trapping the feral cats in humane traps before euthanasing them. In addition to this Gerald Roarty a vet from Letterkenny has been over to the island a couple of times to neuter the domestic cat population. So hopefully there will not be any young kittens next year.
One of the problems with feral cats in Ireland is that more and more people are leaving food out for them. This means they are better fed and consequently compared with previous years they are producing bigger and bigger litters.
I hope Birdwatch Ireland consider doing this on Inishbofin off Co. Galway as well because while I was there in October there seemed to be feral cats all over the island and I am sure they are detrimental to the breeding prospects of the Corncrake there as well as Tory Island.
(Photo by Anthony McGeehan)