HIYA!! SAVANNAH HERE!!!
I won’t write such a long post about this situation as I did last week, purromise. But—I want my readers to be up to date on what has or actually hasn’t, happened since my Monday December 14 blog post. First, the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRP) Board of Directors (BOD) suspended all shooting of feral/abandoned community cats on their properties until they get some committee put together to “study this problem”!!! HAH!!! EBRP established the policy to shoot to kill any feral/abandoned cats they find on their regional park land TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO! YES!! They have been carrying this slaughter out for twenty five years and this is the first time they got caught!
Mom L has not received a reply to her many emails, but my pals Miss Carolyn in Wales, Austin’s mum, and Miss Marjorie in New Zealand did!!! And very soon after the BOD held their meeting Wednesday December 16. The reply is from the about to retire General Manager who is likely the person who instituted this tragic policy. All I hear are excuses in his words, what do you hear? Let me know in comments please!
On behalf of the East Bay Regional Park District Board and staff, we understand the community’s concern regarding the recent removal of feral cats from protected habitat at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. We have received much correspondence from the public on this issue and will be reviewing our practices and policies of our Wildlife Management Program, as we have a legal responsibility to protect endangered or listed wildlife species to help avoid the extinction of these valuable resources.
On Thursday, December 10, 2020, I directed the temporary suspension of some feral cat removal practices by staff in our parks until the protocol can be discussed openly and transparently with the Park District Board of Directors. The occasional use of dispatching practices for the removal of cats to protect threatened and endangered species is the exception and not the rule and only happens when other options such as trapping are unsuccessful. These rare actions are fully permitted and authorized legal actions.
Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, located near the Oakland Airport, is a sensitive ecological area and stop along the Pacific Flyway where thousands of birds annually nest, including several protected species: Ridgway’s rail, California black rail, least terns, burrowing owls, and the salt marsh harvest mouse. The California Ridgeway rail is located only in the San Francisco Bay Area, with only 900 breeding pairs estimated to be left. The California black rail is listed as a threatened species due to the loss, destruction, and degradation of their brackish and saltwater wetland habitats. It is one of the smallest rail species in the world. Both species are protected under the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Moving forward, we commit to providing more public education about the threat cats pose to protected species at risk from extinction. We also commit to working more closely with Oakland Animal Services and some of their affiliate rescue and shelter organizations: Hayward Animal Services, Berkeley Animal Care Services, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, City of Fremont Animal Services, and Tri-City Animal Shelter to assist in the removal of cats from regional parks.
We need the public’s assistance in keeping predatory cats out of all regional parks. Domestic cats don’t deserve a life in the wild. Protected species that the Park District works tirelessly to conserve do not deserve to be hunted by domesticated cats.
We invite you to learn more about wildlife management and the impact of feral and abandoned cats.
- Park District Wildlife Protection and Free-Ranging Cats Brochure: www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=33822
- The Cornell Lab, Outdoor Cats and Their Effects on Birds, The Obituary of the Stephens Island Wren: www.allaboutbirds.org/news/faq-outdoor-cats-and-their-effects-on-birds/
- The Cornell Lab: www.allaboutbirds.org/news/the-obituary-of-the-stephens-island-wren/
- New York Times, That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think: www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/science/that-cuddly-kitty-of-yours-is-a-killer.html?_r=0
- The Wildlife Society, Feral, and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats: www.wildlife.org/tws-issue-statement-feral-and-free-ranging-domestic-cats/
Finally, please never leave or feed cats in parks – it is illegal, and you can be cited! By working together, endangered species and feral cats can continue to thrive…separately.
East Bay Regional Park District General Manager
All the supposed scientific research papers he cites are dated 2004-2013, hardly cutting edge. And, the articles he’s cited aren’t even original research—they’re somebody else’s interpretation of various studies (and those are poor quality). Upon reading this reply, Peter J Wolf, a well known research and policy analyst with Best Friends Society had these observations:
“I’m struck by the fact that, despite all of EBRPD’s talk of endangered species—and Ridgeway’s rail in particular—there’s no mention of cats killing birds. Not even stalking them. No mention of predation of any kind, in fact.
One would like to think that the case for lethal removal—which the District describes as “the exception and not the rule, only after other options such as trapping are unsuccessful”—would require some compelling evidence. Instead, it seems, EBRPD secretly killed at least 18 cats because such an outcome was a possibility. And a relatively remote one at that, given the distances the cats would need to travel to the parts of the park where Ridgeway’s rails tend to congregate.
I can’t help but think—and to be clear, I have no evidence of this—that shooting the cats had little to do with protecting any specific wildlife. I think this was about sending a message to caregivers. Only when their activities were brought to light did they play the endangered species card. “
This cat colony was in large part far from being “feral”. The EBRP’s people only had to reach out to the caretaker and she could have trapped them all and made sure they were safe. Their caretaker has been able to get many adopted and others are waiting for adoption. Here is Charles in his new home after pretending he was a scared feral cat. Hee Hee!
Here are three more beauties that are available for adoption through Island Cat Resources and Adoption. Please share all these kitties and help them get to their forever homes quickly. Teddy is chilling on someone’s shoulder, Dianna is showing off her diva look and Abe is ready to play!
If you have not already written to the EBRP BOD, please do try to find the time to help us get #justiceforoakportcats and write to the BOD members listed below.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ward 1 Board Member: Elizabeth Echols; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 2 Board Member: Dee Rosario; email@example.com
Ward 3 Board Member: Dennis Waespi; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 4 Board Member: Ellen Corbett; email@example.com
Ward 5 Board Member: Ayn Wieskamp; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 6 Board Member: Beverly Lane; email@example.com
Ward 7 Board Member: Colin Coffey; firstname.lastname@example.org