The next Monday Night Seminar at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is December
5th, at 7:30 pm.  As always, the seminars are held in the auditorium, and
free and open to the public. The doors open at 7:00.

We will be streaming this seminar live. Bookmark for quick
access on Monday evening. Thanks for helping spread the word!

*Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer*

Dr. Peter Marra, Head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

In 1894, lighthouse keepers arrived on Stephens Island off New Zealand with
a cat, supposedly named Tibbles. In just over a year, the Stephens Island
Wren, a rare bird endemic to the island, was rendered extinct. Mounting
scientific evidence confirms what many conservationists have suspected for
some time—that in the United States alone, free-ranging cats are killing
birds and other animals by the billions. Equally alarming are the
little-known but potentially devastating public health consequences of
rabies and parasitic *Toxoplasma* passing from cats to humans at rising
rates. *Cat Wars* tells the story of the threats free-ranging cats pose to
biodiversity and public health throughout the world, and sheds new light on
the controversies surrounding the management of the explosion of these cat

Marra will trace the historical and cultural ties between humans and cats
from early domestication to the current boom in pet ownership, along the
way accessibly explaining the science of extinction, population modeling,
and feline diseases. He will chart the developments that have led to our
present impasse—from Stan Temple’s breakthrough studies on cat predation in
Wisconsin to cat-eradication programs underway in Australia today.  Marra
will also describe how a small but vocal minority of cat advocates has
campaigned successfully for no action in much the same way that special
interest groups have stymied attempts to curtail smoking and climate
change. The outdoor cat issue* is a *complex global problem—*Cat Wars*
proposes solutions that foresee a time when wildlife and humans are no
longer vulnerable to the impacts of free-ranging cats.

Marc Devokaitis

Public Information Specialist

Cornell Lab of Ornithology


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