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Cats may be greater threat to wildlife than first thought

Study estimates free-roaming cats kill billions of birds and mammals in the US annually.

Cats may be greater threat to wildlife than first thought Photo by R. Scott Nolen

A new study claims free-ranging domestic cats kill substantially more wildlife than previously thought and may be the single greatest source of human-related death of birds and mammals in the United States.

Scientists with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that cats kill 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals in the contiguous United States every year. The scientists identified feral cats as being responsible for most of the deaths—approximately 69 percent of bird deaths and 89 percent of mammal deaths.

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