Current Affairs

BBC Springwatch star believes pet cats are ruining the environment

Chris Packham, star of the BBC’s Springwatch, has claimed that domestic cats are wrecking natural ecosystems.

Packham believes that feral cats could have a devastating effect on the environment by decimating indigenous fauna and, as a direct consequence, the natural ecosystem.

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Using the destruction of the Australian wildlife as an example, Packham said: “In Australia, introduced species such as foxes, rabbits, rats and cats have had an apocalyptic impact.

“In urban areas cats are the culprits [of the indigenous fauna’s depletion] and when they go feral they wreak havoc in the countryside, killing bandicoots, wallabies, quolls and bettongs; the intricate relationships of the entire ecosystem are destroyed and it collapses and dies.

“Although it’s in a very different part of the world, it makes you wonder what impact ‘Tibbles’ has on our beleaguered, battered and badly damaged ecosystems.”

Packham’s comments were in direct response to the deaths of chicks in a Wood Warblers’ nest as a result of cat attack broadcast on the Springwatch show.

Footage of the cat attack caused a number of viewers to voice their upset on the BBC site and resulted in Packham remarking the video reflected the “reality” of the situation.

51-year-old Packham has advocated keeping domesticated pets indoors during the night, or attaching a bell to their collars to act a warning to potential prey.

Packham has previously claimed that keeping domestic cats indoors overnight can reduce the number of animal deaths related to them by 50 per cent.

“I love cats, I think they are beautiful [and] a wonderful predator,” Packham said. “But what’s the point in feeding birds in your garden if you’re feeding them to your cat?

“As a conservationist, all I want to do is ask people who keep cats to move on in the way that they keep them.”

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