Domestic cats have long been fingered as voracious hunters, causing dozens of native-mammal extinctions in Australia alone. But the purring predators bring with them another threat to the wild, according to research published by Britain’s Royal Society: the spread of disease. Scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada said the prevalence of toxoplasmosis, which can cause flu-like symptoms in humans and cysts in wild animals, can be traced to the world’s estimated 600 million housecats, with the incidence of disease rising among wild animals in regions where pet cats are common.
Images of grinning, gun-toting, khaki-clad hunters posingI over dead lions and elephants have long provoked outrage, scorn and bewilderment. But safari trophy-seekers are not the biggest threat to some protected animals, including several species closely related to humans, according to a report published by the UN’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). According to the study, “most migratory ungulates” as well as “all chimpanzee subspecies and three of the four gorilla subspecies” are “experiencing large population declines” that can in part be blamed on them ending up on people’s dinner plates. Of the 105 species covered in the study, which was prepared by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), 47 are hunted for so-called “bush meat” markets and another 20 are taken for other reasons, including “sport hunting.”