Australia declares 'war' on feral cats

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Australia Declares A 'War' On Cats

The Australian government has declared a "war" on cats, announcing they plan to kill 2 million feral cats within the next five years.

Gregory Andrews, Australia's first Threatened Species Commissioner says Environment Minister Greg Hunt is leading the charge.

"Of the 29 mammals that we've lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions, and over 120 Australian animals are at risk of extinction from feral cats," Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "It's very important to emphasise too that we don't hate cats. We just can't tolerate the damage that they're doing anymore to our wildlife."

See images of feral cats around the world:

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Australia declares war on feral cats
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Australia declares 'war' on feral cats
In this undated photo provided by the Department of the Environment, a feral cat catches and eats a crimson rosella bird at an unknown location in Australia. Researchers have found that much of the Australian species' decline coincided with the introduction of two animals: the feral cat, which sailors brought to Australia on ships as a means of pest control, and red foxes, brought to the continent for hunting. (AP Photo/Department of the Environment, C. Potter) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
In this Feb. 6, 2013 photo, a feral cat eats cat food from a box left by a cat lover behind a grocery store in Key Largo, Fla. While hunters stalked the elusive Burmese python through large swaths of Florida's Everglades over the last month, state and federal wildlife officials set traps for other animals menacing native wildlife in a fragile ecosystem. The python gets all the attention in Florida's sometimes weird animal kingdom and it's accused of decimating the populations of native mammals in the Everglades, but wildlife officials say feral cats, black-and-white tegu lizards and Cuban tree frogs are some of the other invasive species that pose equally serious threats to imperiled native wildlife in the swamplands and neighboring habitats. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JUNE 24-25 ** A pair of feral cats are seen in Mansfield, Conn., June 12, 2006. Mansfield has passed an ordinance that requires cats older than 6 months to be spayed or neutered in an effort to combat overpopulation by feral cats. (AP Photo/Bob Child)
Feral cats at Douglas Memorial Park in Cape May, N.J., gather for mealtime on Friday, Aug. 3, 2007. Volunteers feed the cats everyday. Government officials say feral cat colonies of Cape May are eating the Piping Plover, a threatened and protected species of shore bird. The federal government is considering intervening on the side of the birds. (AP Photo/David Gard)
**ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, Feb. 25**FILE**In this on Friday, Aug. 3, 2007 file photograph, feral cats at Douglas Memorial Park in Cape May, N.J., gather for mealtime. Volunteers, including Timothy John Albert of North Cape May, left, and Dick Quinn of Rio Grande feed the cats everyday. The deal to move the feral cat colonies, suspected of eating the Piping Plover, a threatened and protected species of shore bird, has fallen through. The cats' backers, who say there's no proof anything was killed, got the Cape May City Council to back down on a plan to relocate the cats. (AP Photo/David Gard,file)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: A cat wanders the grounds of the Los Angeles Flower Market on June 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Some local business owners participate in the Working Cats program, which uses feral or 'Community Cats' to repel rodents from their stores. (Photo by Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A stray cat is pictured at La Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on June 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO/EITAN ABRAMOVICH (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)
Sunny, a 1-year-old stray cat, was taken in by PAWS Chicago after being rescued by city animal control workers. Sunny suffered from frostbitten ears. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CORFU - OCTOBER 04: Stray feral mother white cat, Felis catus, nursing her cute black kittens at Paleokastritsa in Corfu, , Greece (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
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According to the Washington Post, feral cats are the biggest threat to endangered mammals in Australia, a country that has one of the worst extinction records in the world. Some of the mammals on the verge of extinction include the greater bilby, eastern bettong, western quoll, and the numbat.

The government is asking Australian cat owners to contain, desex, and microchip their pets to aid the initiative.

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