Occasionally when I am out walking, I come across finds like this:
I will never know how each particular bird or animal died (we’ve also found two possums – one ring-tail, the other a brush-tail) but essentially there are five possibilities:
- The animal died of natural causes
- A native predator killed it (owl, eagle etc)
- Wild feral predators killed it (foxes etc)
- Domestic pets killed it (cats, dogs etc)
- Human acts led to the death (poison, traps etc)
The first two options are just life and nature taking its course. I can quite happily accept this, and am even comforted to know that the eagles and owls were able to find food.
Feral predators are a problem. We do have foxes in this area. People I know who have chickens tell me about the damage one fox can do if it manages to get into the hen-house. So far I have not seen a fox on our property, but of course they could venture into the bushland at the back of the property overnight, or even in the daytime when we are not walking around. There are laws here to try to ensure that foxes and other feral animals are controlled, so I feel like someone is doing something about this issue.
Perhaps in the act of trying to control feral animals, humans inadvertently kill native wildlife. Perhaps they intentionally capture and kill wildlife for food – we do still have duck season here, as an example. Whether I agree or disagree with hunting, all I can do is to ensure it doesn’t happen on our land.
The predator I have the most difficulty coming to terms with is the domestic pet: in particular domestic cats have been brought to my attention this week. Regular readers of my blog will know that I love cats. We have two cats. We have also ensured as much as we can that wildlife are safe on our property by investing time and money to build a cat enclosure. Our cats can go outside and play, and I know that they will not be out in the bushland stalking wildlife, and also protected from disease they may contract from other cats.
Imagine my dismay when I looked out my window yesterday to see someone else’s cat stalking the birds around the bird feeder. Watching the native birds which have come to feel safe on our property has become such a joy in my life. I found the thought of these birds becoming easy pickings for a well-fed domestic cat upsetting.
What do I do? I can try to run it off, but with fifteen acres of bush to hide in, I know it will just wait until I go away and then emerge from its hiding place. I can take the time and effort to find out who owns it, but if they are not willing to be responsible cat owners, the cat will simply keep on coming back. I have no wish to escalate the issue to a dispute with anyone. All I want is for our fifteen acres of land to be a refuge for wildlife. It makes me both sad and angry that other people cannot respect this by keeping their cats contained on their own property.