Experts from the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences recently concluded that cats – the pets of many animals – are an “alien invasive species”, arguing that the classification is due to “the effects that cats have on populations of birds and other animals.”
According to APNews, the decision won the consensus of the scientific community, which reveals that domestic cats “hunt and kill large numbers of birds and small mammals.” Wojciech Solarz, the biologist responsible for introducing domestic cats to this scientific institute’s list of invasive species, despite being the target of harsh criticism from segments of the Polish population, says cats’ behavior is “100%” consistent with the criteria defining an invasive species.
Dorota Sominska, a veterinarian who was on a televised discussion confronting the biologist, notes that “the decline in biodiversity must be attributed to pollution and buildings crashing many birds onto their facades and ending up dying.” Additionally, Suminska believes that humans also “meet all the criteria to be considered an invasive species, but are not on this list.”
According to the German newspaper, with the aim of defusing the controversy, the Polish Institute for the Conservation of Nature went on to explain to the public that it was against “any cruelty to animals” and that “classifying a cat as an invasive alien species should not motivate mistreatment against this species”. The institute also said that domestic cats are considered an “exotic” species, having been imported to Europe from the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. Therefore the species is considered alien “from a purely scientific point of view”.
Wojciech Solarz also advises cat owners to limit the time they spend outdoors to reduce impacts on populations of other species “particularly during the breeding season of birds”.
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