It’s been a year long battle between bird lovers and cat lovers.
Cape May, New Jersey is one of North America’s prime bird-watching spots, and bird lovers have been trying to protect the endangered shore birds like the piping plover from feral cats on the beach. Cat advocates wanted to leave the cats at the beach.
This week the City Council has made a compromise between the bird lovers and the cat lovers and have approved a plan to move the feral cat colonies 1,000 feet away from the beach.
Federal environmental officials had threatened to withhold funds for the beach if the city refused to protect the birds.
Councilwoman Linda Steenrod said, “It’s important to protect our beaches. At the same time, it’s important to protect life. That means all life. I think we have a good compromise.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had wanted the feral cat colonies prohibited from being within one mile of the beach. This move would have eliminated all wild cats in Cape May.
With the compromise, there will be a 1,000 foot buffer zone between the feral cats and the known nesting grounds of the birds.
Cape May will continue its trap, neuter and release program and will release the cats outside the buffer zone.
Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, said, “To hold beach replenishment money over the heads of a city that has done everything right is simply misguided.”
Federal authorities are not entirely happy with the compromise because they believe the feral cats are still too close to the endangered birds. But they said they will try it for a few months and see how it successful it is.
Source: Fox News
Photo: Associated Press