Invasive Predators: Pets Threaten Earth's Biodiversity

Australian ecologist Tim Doherty and his colleagues at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) analyzed lists of endangered species to determine which invasive predators (that is, those that did not originally belong to this region, but that got into it as a result of human activity) are most affected to a population of local animals. The leaders were cats and dogs, and if with wild individuals everything is more or less obvious, then the domestic representatives of these creatures were far from sinless.

Cats are excellent hunters, and even domestic cats often hunt exclusively out of sports interest, since they do not have to prey on their prey. Researchers estimate that “142 extinct and 596 endangered species have been affected by only 30 species of invasive predators.” In addition to cats and dogs, this list also includes rodents and ... pigs. We are used to thinking of cats as the greatest threat to birds, although in fact it is rodents that are responsible for the extinction of 52 species of birds (however, cats also have a lot of victims - 40 completely destroyed species).

According to the authors of the study, invasive predatory mammals are the most powerful engine for the mass extinction of animals. Together, they exterminated 58% of all extinct birds, mammals and reptiles, while the figure may be even higher, since the extinction of another 23% remains unconfirmed.

Findings? Pay close attention to pets, if possible, do not allow their aggressive behavior and, if you want to get a pet, think about whether to choose a predatory animal as a pet, for which killing is one of the main genetic behavior programs?


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