Auckland Council plans for cat culling
Cats without microchips found roaming in sensitive environments will be killed under Auckland Council’s new pest eradication programme.
Auckland Council is proposing to spend $307 million over the next 10 years to rein in the region’s pests and protect its ecosystems and threatened species.
The plan will clarify when a cat is a pest based on whether or not it is micro-chipped, which will help identify stray cats.
Any cat found in an ‘‘ecologically significant site’’ without a microchip could be euthanised.
Auckland Council said approximately one third of cats in New Zealand are microchipped, but there are no Auckland statistics because it is a voluntary procedure.
Auckland Council environmental advisory manager Imogen Bassett told councillors at the environment and community committee on Tuesday that it was a ‘‘very polarising issue’’.
‘‘We’ve tried to balance people’s rights and the value of domestic cats with managing their impacts in high value areas to protect native species,’’ Bassett said.
At the same meeting Auckland councillor Daniel Newman said it would dominate the forthcoming regional pest debate.
‘‘I can understand the value of the proposition here, but I don’t necessarily believe that the community itself is going to fully appreciate that,’’ Newman said.
‘‘There’s a high premium on the value of the domestic mog. Are you ready for the response from the community?
‘‘The best communication strategy under the sun is not going to allay all concerns.’’
Auckland Council biosecurity manager Phil Brown said feral cats were already classified as pests.
‘‘It’s not a reactive Brown said.
‘‘It will be well planned at specific sites of ecological significance where rats, possums and other pests are also being managed.’’
Cats were a danger to the survival of numerous threatened programme,’’ species including black petrel, Cook’s petrel, dotterels and kiwi, Brown said.
All 21 local boards supported the proposed approach to cat management.
The proposed plan will be open to public consultation early next year.
Any cat found in an ‘‘ecologically significant site’’ without a microchip could be euthanised if the regional plan goes ahead.