Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

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rally_toad
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Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by rally_toad » Jan 11 2011 5:52 pm

Calling Gilbert Residents and Gilbert Riparian Preserve Visitors. I have provided a link to an AZ republic article on the feral cat problem at the preserve, and below is a forwarded email I received from a good friend from PeFo and a frequent visitor to the Riparian Preserve.

Below the link is the email from Mike Evans, Conservation Director, Desert Rivers Aubudon Society.

The gist is that I'm posting here because I'm figuring that most Arizona hikers are just as interested in native species conservation as I am. As per the email, if you're a Riparian Preserve frequenter or a Gilbert Resident please email the town council and let them know that you support the removal of the rest of the cats that are roaming the Riparian Preserve. The Housecats are likely already the culprit for knocking out one native from the Preserve, the Burrowing Owl. Its been many years since I've seen a burrowing owl there, and other birders are saddened by the loss of what was a healthy owl population.

Anyway if you PM me I will send you the letter I wrote, which you can use as a template, but obviously change some things like name and such.

The email address for the mayor of Gilbert and all gilbert councilmembers is CouncilMembers@gilbertaz.gov

Thanks!

http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilb ... nsion.html

Starting right before Thanksgiving and stopping right before Christmas, Desert
Rivers Audubon volunteers assisted Riparian Preserve employees in trapping and
removing feral cats from the preserve. Trapped cats were taken to the Arizona
Humane Society. The traps were donated by Audubon Arizona, Maricopa Audubon
Society, and Desert Rivers Audubon. We trapped 26 cats, of which only two were
sterilized, a dismal 8%, and proof of failure at TNR by the feral cat
supporters. Feral cat supporters asked for and have received a pause in the
trapping until 1/18/11 to trap and remove the rest of the cats. On Jan. 18th,
the town and Audubon volunteers return to trapping and will remove any food
left behind by the cat people.


This has caused the Mayor and Council to be inundated with email, phone calls
and letters by pro-cat people. We need the birding community across the state
to respond likewise and let the elected officials know that you support
trapping and removing all cats from the preserve and that you desire a policy
to keep them, and all other kinds of pet dumping victims, out of the preserve.


If this ends up before the town council (likely), we would like an overwhelming
show of support from the birding community to not allow a feral cat colony to
be maintained at the preserve. We are also requesting that if you have any
photos of cats taking birds at the preserve, to please share a copy with your
favorite Desert River Audubon member so that they may be shown to elected
officials as proof of the bird kill by cats. Also, if you visit the preserve,
please document the number of cats you see, and please document, in any manner
(photos are best!), the stalking or killing of birds by the cats.


Please send any response off the list serve. Thanks for your support.

Mike Evans
Gilbert, AZ
Conservation Director,
Desert Rivers Audubon Society
"Who are you guys??!!" -Farnsworth

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azbackpackr
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 11 2011 6:01 pm

Pellet guns work pretty well, and are quiet, too! :D
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 11 2011 6:14 pm

I have a friend who would be one of the "pro-cat" people described who is part of an organization that has been dealing with these cats for years. According to her, their group is being forced off the preserve and the cats are not being trapped and removed-- most are being shot.

Also, I'd love to see what happens when a feral house cat tries to take on an owl.
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rally_toad
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by rally_toad » Jan 11 2011 7:00 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Pellet guns work pretty well, and are quiet, too!
Effective, yet frowned upon by some :(
Tough_Boots wrote:part of an organization that has been dealing with these cats for years
Obviously they weren't doing that great of a job. Isn't several years enough time to capture and euthanize 50-80 cats? Since Aubudon and Riparian people captured 26 in a month.
Tough_Boots wrote:I'd love to see what happens when a feral house cat tries to take on an owl.
We already did. A Preserve devoid of Burrowing Owls. Burrowing owls nest in the ground, which makes them an easy targets for Housecats.
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 11 2011 7:13 pm

I didn't respond to make a big argument over this stuff (I'm definitely not a big cat-lover), just that there are different sides to everything. Creating an area as a preserve and thinking you can decide what ends up living there isn't very natural at all-- every creature around will want to live there especially if they can enter a ready-made food chain from above. Also, I'm sure the ever growing suburban area surrounding the preserve might also have something to do with the bird populations crashing-- especially since it is definitely the cause of the increase in feral cats. All this is just another side effect of suburban sprawl and another example of trying to solve the problem at the wrong link in the chain. :) The cats aren't what killed the owls-- Gilbert did.
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johnlp
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by johnlp » Jan 11 2011 7:32 pm

Chandler has a similar facility that has burrowing owls and no cats yet. There are, however, coyotes that frequent the area. Hopefully the cats won't move in, but it wouldn't surprise me too much if they did.
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skatchkins
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by skatchkins » Jan 11 2011 7:47 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Pellet guns work pretty well, and are quiet, too! :D
I got a scope for the .22 for Christmas.
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Alston_Neal
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 12 2011 11:19 am

I'm thinking about becoming the meat supplier for Thai restaurants.

On a serious note this does suck, I'm not a big cat lover especially ferals.
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Dave1
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Dave1 » Jan 12 2011 11:41 am

Alston Neal wrote:I'm thinking about becoming the meat supplier for Thai restaurants.

Is there a Thai restaurant in the Phoenix area that serves cat meat?

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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 12 2011 11:49 am

Dave1 wrote:Is there a Thai restaurant in the Phoenix area that serves cat meat?
probably not... but I bet you can find a couple barbecue joints that do!
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PLC92084
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by PLC92084 » Jan 12 2011 12:19 pm

I'm sure PETA would have a field day with the direction this thread is heading... :o

For the animal lovers up in arms about the effective methods used to reduce the unnatural presence of the cats, they should get a life (or get their butts out there to trap and adopt more of them...).

@Alston Neal & Tough_Boots

Just thinking about Thai-curried kitty or Baby Back cat is enough to make me stick with beef for a while... :STP:

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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 12 2011 12:45 pm

PLC92084 wrote:Just thinking about Thai-curried kitty or Baby Back cat is enough to make me stick with beef for a while... :STP:
:sl:
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big_load
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by big_load » Jan 12 2011 12:55 pm

Unfortunately, cats can rapidly outbreed the demand for pets. As a result, most of the cat rescue places around here are like kitty concentration camps.

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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 12 2011 2:02 pm

It would be interesting what one would see at night down there with night vision optics.
I bet it would be easy to document the amount of feral activity then.
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PLC92084
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by PLC92084 » Jan 12 2011 2:36 pm

Alston Neal wrote:It would be interesting what one would see at night down there with night vision optics
Especially if it was one of these...
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 12 2011 2:43 pm

^^^^^ Oh man I'd pay big bucks to be able to say .....Here kitty kitty.
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 12 2011 5:53 pm

OK, so I had a longer talk with my friend who's been working with these cats for a long time and here's some things to add to the discussion (though, it sounds like no one really cares all that much).

This group has been trapping, spaying, neutering, and doing their best to find homes for as many of these cats as possible for years with the permission of the preserve. They have also set up feeding schedules to curb the cats need to hunt. They do their best to communicate with the preserve, though, have never received the same courtesy back. They have also had a long standing offer with the preserve to orchestrate a mass evacuation of the cats if the preserve ever got fed up with them and wanted them totally eradicated. The preserve gave them no notice that they were going to get rid of the cats or any opportunity for the group to take the cats and deal with them in a way not ending in immediate euthanasia. The only reason anyone even know that this eradication is happening is because of this group seeing the population disappear over a couple nights time-- no press release or announcement was made. At this time, they actually have offers from local ranches to take large numbers of the cats but instead they are being captured and killed at shelters.

Not only feral cats roam the preserve. Area ranches are now making complaints that their cats who often cross into the preserve have disappeared.

Proving that not only cat-lovers, but people who care for animals in general do not necessarily approve of these actions-- Desert River Audubon is actually a group that splintered from the Maricopa Audubon because of their intent with this area.

The "cat-people" also do not trust the way in which the preserve is reporting to be removing these cats. The preserve claims they are using traps but have been able to remove more cats in a short period of time than is actually likely with that method. More likely, they are using something along the lines of tranquilizing darts-- but this is all speculation since the preserve is not into dialogue and communication.

In response to the burrowing owls, there is of course the likelihood of cats hunting their numbers down-- another thing to think about is where the preserve set up the grounds to attract them. They are right next to the trails where foot traffic and mountain bikers would have driven them away. This is really stupid on the preserve's side of things.

I would ask after this whole debacle, what the "conservationists" at Desert Rivers Audubon Society want to get rid of next. The fish are not a native species and either are turtles (which are also probably a result of people dropping off unwanted pets). We're dealing with a totally synthetic view of nature here-- thinking that we can only keep what's pretty and fun to look at through binoculars.

That's it... I know no one really cares about the cats-- I don't really myself. I just get tired of mediocrity by those with power. I would assume that getting rid of the feral cats and the lack of communication by the preserve has a lot to do with the affluence and ability to organize of the Desert Rivers Audubon and the effect that it has over some salaried preserve positions.
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by autumnstars » Jan 12 2011 6:20 pm

It is baffling why the preserve didn't take up the group's offer to remove all the cats, presumably for free.
Now, I imagine they are paying some person or some group to do the removal, in a way that is not public.
Are they actually trying to make people distrust them?
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 12 2011 6:31 pm

autumnstars wrote:Now, I imagine they are paying some person or some group to do the removal
Audubon is donating the traps and people. Arizona Fish and Game said they wouldn't release any new species into the preserve until the cats were under control and the birders need their eye-candy.
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Re: Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Post by rally_toad » Jan 13 2011 12:59 am

Tough_Boots wrote:We're dealing with a totally synthetic view of nature here
Yep, because Domesticated House Cats i.e. the species we are talking about is a totally natural species. Evolved totally without the hand of man, natural selection made them extra cute, saves them from predators.
Tough_Boots wrote:but this is all speculation since the preserve is not into dialogue and communication.
Yep dude, its all a huge Riparian Preserve conspiracy, my bet is Obama is behind it all. He hates cats.
Tough_Boots wrote:The fish are not a native species and either are turtles
By all means sir, get rid of the Red Eared Sliders and Bullfrogs.

I'm all for promoting Biodiversity even at a place like the Riparian Preserve, a little place like this can help kids and even adults form their first connections with "nature" and see a little bit of what is out there worth saving. Desert Rivers and others have never contended that the place is natural, but it is NOW absolutely fantastic riparian habitat and could provide for safety-net populations of threatened and endangered Riparian species.

But whatever dude, save the house cats, save the cows, save the domestic dogs.

Thanks for using this thread for a rant on your personal opinion about nature and urban sprawl. Both subjects have nothing to do with the Riparian Preserve as the Preserve is very obviously not "natural". And it has ALWAYS been surrounded by Urban sprawl, they BUILT it in the middle of Gilbert.
Tough_Boots wrote:I just get tired of mediocrity by those with power. I would assume that getting rid of the feral cats and the lack of communication by the preserve has a lot to do with the affluence and ability to organize of the Desert Rivers Audubon and the effect that it has over some salaried preserve positions.
Again, another apparently unrelated rant. The Preserve has 3 staff members, I would wager that 2 of three barely make 30k a year, and that the Preserve Director isn't exactly raking it in. No one at the Preserve or in Desert Rivers Aubudon has any "power". Which is why there are still cats at the preserve, "Save the Cats" threw a fit when the Preserve Director tried to get rid of the cats outright, and so they had to stop and wait while "Save the cats" does another half-baked attempt at trapping the cats.

In the article the director of "Save the Cats" was quoted as saying his first priority was "ensuring the safety of the cats still at the preserve." So your claim that they were ready to remove the cats at any time seems laughable.


On another RELATED note.

I actually got a response from a town council member, so they are listening. And feel free to still email the council members if you do value seeing wildlife at the preserve. Again that email address is councilmembers@gilbertaz.gov
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