Alley Cat Rescue’s African Wildcat Conservation Action Plan: Saving A Species Through TNR

Alley Cat Rescue’s African Wildcat Conservation Action Plan:

Saving A Species Through TNR

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by Alley Cat Rescue, Inc.

Did you recognize that our home home cats, who sit on our laps and sleep on our beds, come from a wild ancestor? That wild ancestor is the African wildcat, Felis lybica lybica. Sadly, habitat loss, looking, and vehicles are taking a toll on the subspecies of African wildcat that inhabits central and southern Africa (Felis l. cafra). The most vital hazard to Felis l. cafra, nonetheless, is hybridization with home cats. Because each species of cats have such comparable DNA, they interbreed simply, after which the hybrids can even beginning litters of kittens, additional diluting the wild species.

Alley Cat Rescue (ACR) has been on the forefront of working to protect southern African wildcats by means of our African Wildcat Conservation Action Plan, which combats hybridization by means of trap-neuter-return (TNR) of neighborhood cats in South Africa. The neighborhood cats additionally helped by means of the well being advantages of sterilization, rabies vaccination, and medical take care of any diseases and wounds they’ve on the time of trapping.

We initiated the Action Plan in 2019, working alongside the border of Kruger National Park, which is residence to sizable African wildcat (AWC) populations. Our professional TNR volunteers have trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, and returned about 3,500 cats on this space, which incorporates the cities of Hoesdspruit, Phalaborwa, Hazyview, White River, Sabie, and Acornhoek.

While we’re planning to proceed TNR work within the Kruger Park space (we estimate there are nonetheless roughly 4,000 extra out of doors cats to sterilize), in 2022 we expanded our program to cowl farmlands that border AWC habitats within the Eastern and Western Cape areas because of experiences that there are a lot of working farm cats there who should not sterilized nor vaccinated towards rabies. These experiences got here from different TNR teams within the George space (Western Cape) and Port Alfred/Kenton-on-Sea (Eastern Cape), as effectively a bunch in Cape Town that has reported that natural farmers there use cats as rodent management as a substitute of pesticides. Additionally, African wildcat professional Marion Holmes of Cat Conservation Trust, who lives within the Cradock space, experiences that one of many greatest issues going through African wildcats are farm cats.

Image Credit: Flickr – Louise Meintjes

In response to this data, ACR has reached out to a number of natural farmers bureaus – CERES SA, Organic Africa, and SAOSO – to elucidate the hazard hybridization poses to AWCs and request their assist with relaying this message to farmers in order that the latter could elect to sterilize their barn cats on their very own, or no less than be amenable to permitting us to take action for them. We additionally revealed a press launch for US and world information shops that highlights the hazard of hybridization between South African farm cats and AWCs.

We additionally assembled a small group of native trappers, all volunteering their appreciable time and efforts, to TNR the barn cats (in addition to feral cats who share their normal space). These volunteers have sterilized over 550 cats over the previous 9 months. They have reported to us that after sterilization, the cats often change into extra social and type bonds with their caretakers. This is undoubtedly good for the cats’ emotional well being in addition to the farmers’!

The world as we all know it can not survive with out biodiversity and the AWC is a vital pure a part of environments all through most of Africa. ACR is dedicated to preserving this distinct species and we’re grateful for the like-minded supporters and volunteers who’re serving to us actualize this objective.

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