Friday, July 16, 2010

Wild cats tamed as pets to save exotic birds

Wild cats from the Ogasawara Islands, a remote Japanese archipelago, are being captured and tamed as domestic pets to help protect the region's unique eco-system. A growing number of feral cats had led to attacks on the birds and other creatures in the islands.

Veterinary experts have joined forces with locals to round up the cats, before deporting them to Japan's main Honshu Island. The cats subsequently undergo training to become domestic pets for periods of up to three months before starting their new lives.

More than 100 wild cats that have been domesticated are now living happily in new homes in Japan, according to a spokesman for the Tokyo Veterinary Medical Association, which is running the programme. The organisation first explored the possibility of capturing the wild cats five years ago. However, the project recently gathered pace as part of efforts for Ogasawara to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.


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