Conservationist Develops Terminator Robot That Kills Feral Cats to Save Endangered Birds

Conservationist Develops Terminator Robot That Kills Feral Cats to Save Endangered Birds

The Australians have come up with an ingenious way of culling the feral cat population in the Pullen Pullen reserve. It sounds cruel, but the cat population has gotten severely out of hand there. They are wiping out endangered species and multiplying too fast. They don’t have enough predators around that hunt them. So, John Read, an ecologist, has come up with what they call a “grooming trap.” A robot that is programmed to recognize feral cats, sprays them with poison. As the cat cleans itself, it basically licks itself to death. Once again, very distasteful to me, but I can understand the necessity of it. Remember, cats are hunters and they have litters frequently. If left unchecked with no predator to keep their numbers down, they’ll wipe out all the smaller prey and all the animals will be at risk of dying.


From The Guardian:

Robotic killers that detect feral cats, spray their fur with poison and rely on them to essentially lick themselves to death have been deployed in the Australian desert for the first time.

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Feral cats are one of the biggest threats to many of Australia’s endangered species, killing millions of animals every day throughout the country – and controlling them has proved difficult.

It took John Read, an ecologist seven years to invent and produce four of the “grooming traps”. After extensive testing, he has switched on the first one in a nature reserve in south-west Queensland.

“Cats are hard-wired to hunt,” Read said. That means they can kill dozens of animals a night but it also means they are often reluctant to eat baits since they prefer to kill an animal themselves.

“This trap targets the cats’ achilles heel,” Read said. Being fastidious groomers, cats will lick off almost anything that gets on their fur. So Read has developed a trap that exploits their tendency to try to get their numbers under control.

With four laser rangefinders, the trap detects when something moves in front of it. If it’s taller than a cat – perhaps a dingo or a koala – the top rangefinder will be triggered and it shuts down. Similarly, a rangefinder at the bottom needs to be able to see between the cat’s legs, meaning a low-slung animal like a wombat or a quoll won’t trigger it. Finally, two rangefinders at the front and back of the trap need to be triggered simultaneously, indicating something the length of a cat has moved in front of it. The ecologists are trying to protect a rare Night Parrot among other species. If the traps are successful, they will be used all over the place. It’s another use for robots, which are becoming more and more common every day.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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