We can think of very few reasons to build a cat fence, that being a fence designed to keep cats away. In fact, if there is ever a cat nearby, we’d kindly appreciate if you guided it directly to our offices. We’d understand keeping cats away if it was for safety purposes, though, and that’s what the National Park Service had to do around the Hawaiian island of Mauna Loa. While it warms our hearts that these scientists wanted to prevent these furry felines from experiencing a scalding, lava-exposed death, that’s actually not what’s going on here ( via The Washington Post).
The Hawaiian petrel is an endangered bird on the island, and it turns out that cats have been having an absolute field day feasting on them. The landscape of the volcano and surrounding area makes it tough for most predators to scale, but as we know, cats are wonderfully adept at climbing just about anything, so they’ve had no problem getting up there and preying on the prone birds. The seafaring birds build nests in deep lava crevices in April, and the females lay just a single egg around June. Then the egg hatches around August, and the chicks are only able to fly away in about November, meaning that for about seven months, local cats are essentially the birds’ only prey, and they’ve proven to be effective at getting what they want, as video evidence has proven.
The “conservation fence,” as it’s known, is six feet tall and has a curved top that supposedly prevents cats from conquering it. It took about four years to build, is the longest anti-cat fence in the United States, and encloses about 600 acres of petrel territory. We love kitties, of course, and while we can’t blame them for acting on their animalistic instincts, we also can’t blame the National Park Service for keeping curious cats out of places they shouldn’t be, so we’ll chalk this up as a win.
Featured image: Jennifer C.