Cats are not native to San Diego. They represent a significant change in the predator ecosystem and a significant threat to wild birds, lizards and rodents. As development has proceeded in San Diego, wild, open spaces have vanished almost entirely. A reduced habitat and the introduction of a huge number of predators seems to be contrary to any concept of conservation. I know that kitties are cute and that wiping out a bunch of them seems cruel, but how cruel is it to allow the wild birds and rodents to be slaughtered? Death is death and allowing the ferals to stay just spares one and kills the others. I'd suggest adopting them, but given our current population in shelters and how hard it is to domesticate ferals, I don't think this is realistic. I also don't think relocating them makes sense. All you'd do is introduce a colony of non-native predators somewhere else.
What do you think?
Photo used without permission from canalphotos.org.
Update: Surfing the web, I find lots of wishy-washy mumbling going on. The Sierra Club wants to study the situation more. A veterinarian magazine thinks we should engage in a different kind of steralization process. It all seems inefficient and dodges the issue. Other than the feral cat advocates, no one questions the damage done by the ferals. It seems like people just don't want to come down on the side of eradication.
Update: I posted a follow up post with photos here.
Update 2: These posts have generated so much interest that I've followed it up with another one here.