As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 1 April 2016

Jones Beach feral cats endangering plovers, group says

Updated March 31, 2016 10:50 PM
By Jennifer Barrios  

Felines increase ‘likelihood of nest failure,’ conservation group contends

A bird-conservation group filed a federal suit Thursday, claiming New York has violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing feral cats to live at Jones Beach, where they threaten endangered shorebirds.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District by the American Bird Conservancy, names Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and alleges that the state has allowed local residents to create and maintain structures at Jones Beach State Park to house feral cats, despite the presence of nesting piping plovers — a tiny shorebird that is listed as an endangered species in New York and a threatened species federally.

The presence of cats “likely results in a significant reduction in the feeding of nesting chicks and an increased likelihood of nest failure by an order of magnitude,” the suit reads.

The suit claims that “at least two feral cat colonies” exist at Jones Beach — near the West Bathhouse and at Field 10 — and that the cats have been seen on the beach near the birds’ nesting areas.

While the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit says the state in a letter last year acknowledged both the presence of the cats and the possibility of their presence harming the piping plovers, “the parks office has taken no effective action to remove the cats.”

“The park has placed ‘no pets’ signs at its parking lots, yet allows cats to be fed in the same areas,” Mike Parr, the group’s chief conservation officer, said in a statement. “It makes no sense to prevent one but allow the other.”

A state parks spokesman on Thursday said the department could not comment on pending litigation.

There were 30 feral cats living at Jones Beach in 2006, the parks department has said previously.

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