Australia builds world's longest cat-proof fence to save wildlife

May 25, 2018
Australia's native wildlife has been affected by habitat loss as well as introduced creatures such as cats, foxes and rabbits going feral and killing native species

A conservation agency has constructed what is believed to be the world's longest cat-proof fence in central Australia to save native wildlife and vegetation ravaged by the feline predators.

Australia has the highest extinction rate in the world, while declining populations are affected by as well as introduced creatures such as cats, foxes and rabbits going feral and killing across the vast continent.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy this month finished building and electrifying the 44-kilometre (27-mile) long fence to create a predator-free area of almost 9,400 hectares (23,200 acres) some 350 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs.

"Australia does not have an effective strategy for controlling cats," AWC chief Attius Fleming told AFP.

"The only way we can save Australia's most endangered animals is by establishing these massive feral cat-free areas using conservation fencing."

Fleming said as part of the project—which is funded by public and government donations—cats and other feral animals were being removed from the area, with threatened native mammals to be reintroduced next year.

The mammals set to be reintroduced in the area, which is owned by the AWC, include the western quoll, the numbat, the bilby and the central rock-rat.

The project will be extended in 2020 to cover a larger area of around 100,000 hectares, Fleming added.

Feral cats are believed to number between 10 and 20 million across Australia.

Cats were first introduced to Australia by British immigrants in the late 1700s as domestic pets, but some went wild and spread across the continent over the next 100 years.

Other causes of native species' population declines and extinctions include feral foxes, climate change, fire and habitat destruction.

Explore further: Australia builds huge cat-proof fence to save native animals

Related Stories

Cats kill one million birds a day in Australia

October 4, 2017

Feral and pet cats kill more than one million birds in Australia every day, new research showed Wednesday, with the staggering slaughter driving the decline of many species.

Recommended for you

Study: With Twitter, race of the messenger matters

February 23, 2019

When NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, the ensuing debate took traditional and social media by storm. University of Kansas researchers have ...

After a reset, Сuriosity is operating normally

February 23, 2019

NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential ...

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Kruleworlder
not rated yet May 25, 2018
I remember that time the army was allowed to hunt feral cats for target practice. something the peta-elites soon put a stop to.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) May 25, 2018
9,400 hectares (23,200 acres)

That's the most pointless additional unit info I've seen in a long time.
Here's a thought: How about square kilometers? You know: a unit people actually use? Or is it the issue that "94 square kilometers" sounds a lot less impressive?
I'm not sure a less than 10kmx10km patch is enough to save endangered species.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) May 27, 2018
When I lived in Irvine, California, in one of the corporate bureaucrat planned communities. There was still large tracts of undeveloped rangeland.

By then, that open land was fenced in to keep people out. But it also kept out their cats and dogs.

I remember noticing that the fenced grassland had a very visible abundance of a multitude of different birds. Quite a noticeable difference from the housing tracts.

Where the cats had killed so many birds, all that was left were ravens and seagulls gang fighting to monopolize the shopping centers litter and dumpsters.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.