Daily Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Cameron Mc­cro­hon news@dai­ly­mer­

CAT'S OUT OF THE BAG: A cen­tral Queens­land re­gional coun­cil has out­sourced re­spon­si­bil­ity of catch­ing and killing cats and kit­tens by of­fer­ing res­i­dents $10/scalp for feral cats and $5 for kit­tens. Mackay re­gion Mayor Greg Wil­liamson says he feels sorry for Ba­nana Shire, for hav­ing such a prob­lem it had to place a $10 “bounty” on the crea­tures. But he wasn’t go­ing to be swayed by the novel ap­proach, claim­ing his coun­cil’s cages were a suit­able do­mes­tic pol­icy, as op­posed to large ru­ral prop­er­ties.

FERAL cats are now a hunted species af­ter Ba­nana Shire in­tro­duced a bounty on the pest.

The coun­cil will pay $10 for an adult cat’s scalp and $5 for a kit­ten.

The bounty is de­signed to stop the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of feral cats in ru­ral ar­eas of the shire, where they are hav­ing a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on the na­tive bird and mam­mal pop­u­la­tions.

The coun­cil has al­lo­cated $25,000 in its Land Pro­tec­tion bud­get to cover the cost of the bounty and will con­tinue the pro­gram un­til this fund­ing is ex­hausted.

En­vi­ron­ment and plan­ning man­ager Chris Welch said a sim­i­lar pro­gram re­cently in­tro­duced in the McKin­lay Shire had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the feral cat pop­u­la­tion.

“An in­crease in feral cat num­bers has been ob­served, and coun­cil has re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from the... Queens­land Wildlife Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety rais­ing the is­sue of im­pacts from feral and un­con­trolled cats,” he said.

Mr Welch said the bounty would be re­stricted to feral an­i­mals de­stroyed on ru­ral prop­er­ties.

Mackay Mayor Greg Wil­liamson said that pol­icy wouldn’t work in this coun­cil re­gion.

“I feel for the coun­cil that had to come to that sort of de­ci­sion,” he said. “We un­der­stand the prob­lems feral cats cause, it has got­ten that bad there the coun­cil is of­fer­ing a bounty. Catch­ing feral cats on a large prop­erty with a cage wouldn’t be the an­swer.“

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