Study: Cats Among Biggest Threats To Global Biodiversity

Some native birds are pushed to the brink of extinction by an unsuspecting predator: cats.
Study: Cats Among Biggest Threats To Global Biodiversity

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found invasive mammalian predators are killing endangered species around the world at much higher rates than previously known. The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) reports this trend is “arguably the most damaging group of alien animal species for global biodiversity.”

The study’s latest evidence points to cats as one of the largest threats to birds and other wildlife, the site reported.

The Numbers

The study reports non-native mammalian predators have contributed to the extinction of 87 bird, 45 mammal and 10 reptile species. They’ve put another 596 species at risk of extinction, according to the study by Dr. Tim S. Doherty and his colleagues. As for cats, they’ve negatively affected 430 species of threatened or now-extinct birds, mammals or reptiles, the study states.

“This comprehensive study confirms yet again just how dramatic an impact cats and other invasive predators are having on bird and other wildlife populations,” said Grant Sizemore, Director of Invasive Species Programs at American Bird Conservancy. “Its findings are striking evidence that the problem is even bigger than previously recognized.”

ABC reports researchers estimate cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 species, including 40 bird species. When combining the introduction of rodents, “cats are major agents of extinction, collectively being listed as casual factors in 44 percent of modern bird, mammal and reptile species extinctions,” Doherty wrote, according to ABC.


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