New Spay/Neuter Project will Protect African Wildcats in South Africa

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 General News
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Alley Cat Rescue to use Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and humane education to protect the housecat's wild ancestor near wildlife reserves.

MOUNT RAINIER, Wash., May 07, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Alley Cat Rescue (ACR) announced a new campaign in South

Africa to protect the African Wildcat, the ancestor of the domestic cat, through a targeted education and trap-neuter-return (TNR) program in South Africa. Genetically pure African Wildcats could someday disappear, the group says, if hybridization with domestic cats is allowed to continue unchecked.

The African Wildcat lives throughout the continent of Africa and parts of Asia and the Middle East. Today's familiar house cat is believed to have been domesticated from AWCs about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. This beautiful and iconic species is currently facing population declines from hybridization with domestic cats, as well as habitat loss, hunting and the killing of cats by farmers.

One of the largest threats to pure populations of African Wildcats is inter-breeding with feral and stray cats. Studies have found that Wildcats and domestic cats can mate and create fertile, hybrid offspring.

The African Wildcat, Felis lybica cafra, is currently listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement among countries to protect threatened and endangered species. As with other Appendix II species, Wildcats are not immediately threatened with extinction, but do need protection in order to ensure their survival.

Alley Cat Rescue President & Founder Louise Holton says, "It's important to save the African Wildcat. This cat gave the world our wonderful companion cats, who today play an integral role in the lives of millions of people around the world."

Alley Cat Rescue is addressing the issue of hybridization by implementing their project where domestic cats and African Wildcats are most likely to interact; the places where their territories overlap. The campaign will focus on the area around Kruger National Park, where hybridization can occur and where it is possible to create a "barrier" of sterilized domestic cats. The park is home to a significant number of African Wildcats, who could come into contact with domestic cats from nearby urban areas.

Alley Cat Rescue is partnering with local scientists, veterinarians and other animal advocacy groups in the area for the project, and welcomes additional participation.

About Alley Cat Rescue: ACR is an International nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of all cats: domestic, stray, abandoned, and feral. ACR advocates for humane, nonlethal control of feral cats. ACR has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, and their newsletter has won several awards from the Cat Writers' Association.

ACR's Guide to Managing Community Cats was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the CWA. For more information, please visit http://www.saveacat.org.   

 

SOURCE Alley Cat Rescue



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