Nests of feral cats located on the Gemfields has sparked a call for culling to be commenced.
Nests of feral cats located on the Gemfields has sparked a call for culling to be commenced.

Wild cats nesting at Gemfields

FOSSICKERS specking in bushland at the Gemfields are finding increasing numbers of feral kitten nests, sparking fears of a wild cat population explosion.

Central Highlands councillor Penny Bulger has called for a taskforce to combat the problem.

“I’m hearing reports of people out fossicking and finding nests of kittens – if we let this go on we’re going to have a dreadful problem,” she said.

“I have spoken with an animal control officer at Barcaldine about the $5 bounty they have and they said so far this year 1000 sets of ears have been issued to council.

“They’ve come mainly from roo shooters shooting feral cats out in the paddocks.”

Mrs Bulger defended her anti-cat stance, saying she was more concerned about the toll being taken on native wildlife.

Council still has no facilities at its pounds to deal with cats.

Environment and Planning department head Peter Day confirmed council was charged $80 for every dog it ordered euthanised by Emerald vets. He expected the same cost for cats.

“Engaging a vet to dispose of (cats) would be very costly,” Mrs Bulger agreed.

“It is not a cheap fix, but what price do you put on the wildlife out there?

“They are feral animals. I would much rather protect the betong and wildlife than feral cats.”

Mrs Bulger queried whether a volunteer base could be established on the Gemfields to engage the community in tackling the problem.

She also told councillors she had consulted a Northern Territory vet on feral cat control and was prepared to bring in his report.

“I have spoken with this vet about how to dispose of cats once they’re trapped – humanely,” she said.

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