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Cat cull on Donegal island

An island's population of wild cats has been culled in a bid to save the endangered corncrake.

The controversial decision to euthanise a colony of feral cats on Tory Island off the Donegal coast was taken by Birdwatch Ireland, after it emerged that the number of corncrakes on the island had dropped dramatically.

Just nine calling males were recorded on the island last year compared to a high of 34. As part of the same programme, the domestic cat population on Tory has been neutered in recent weeks.

Cats have been known to kill corncrake chicks, which are hatched in nests made in meadows, and are unable to fly for five weeks.

"For the protection of people and other animals that frequent the island, the feral cats were caught and euthanised humanely," said Sandy Alcorn, a corncrake field worker with Birdwatch Ireland.

"We took photographs of all the pet cats and provided them with collars before we started to catch the feral cats in humane traps and euthanise them," she said.

A vet has since made two trips to the island to neuter the domestic cat population.

"As things now stand, the domestic cat population has been neutered and hopefully there won't be too many kittens next year," Ms Alcord added.

Source Irish Independent

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