Curiosity to kill Australian catsFebruary 24, 2010 in Biology / Plants & Animals
Australian scientists are hoping to add some truth to the old adage by using curiosity to kill some of the country's millions of wild cats.
New traps that attract cats using sound and light, and then squirt them with poison, will soon be tested in South Australia's Kangaroo Island, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre said on its website.
"This is a tunnel that emits a... sound and bright features that attract cats to it," professor Steven Lapidge said, according to public broadcaster ABC.
"It requires them to walk through a tunnel and if they set off certain sensors in a certain configuration, then it detects the shape of the animal.
"If it is a cat then it will deliver a short spray onto its belly of a toxic substance that puts them to sleep."
The centre believes Australia may have more than 18 million feral cats descended from escaped domestic pets, which kill native wildlife and are hard to control using conventional poisons.
Australia's vast size makes it vulnerable when new species are introduced, with the country suffering large-scale environmental and agricultural damage from wild pigs, rabbits, foxes, cane toads and even camels.
(c) 2010 AFP
"Curiosity to kill Australian cats" February 24, 2010 http://phys.org/news/2010-02-curiosity-australian-cats.html