The disappearance of 27 felines from a colony in Juan Fernández - who is responsible?
The recent disappearance of 27 stray cats from a colony located in the Juan Fernández area, on the coast of the municipality of Tacoronte, has generated a huge controversy that this Monday forced the Cabildo of Tenerife to issue a public statement in which it denies that it participates in the indiscriminate killing of cats and threatens to take legal action for "threats and harassment of personnel in the insular area of Management of the Natural Environment and Security by people who are circulating non-verified information through social networks."
Tamara Pascual, from the SOS Felina Association, demands that “it be clarified where are the 27 cats that have disappeared from that area of the Tacoronte coast in the last month” and demands that the administrations involved give a response “in writing”. He acknowledges that at first they thought that “the reduction of this colony had its origin in some disease, the presence of hunting dogs or some poisoning, but when detecting that of almost 40 cats only 15 were left in the area, we decided to discover what was happening and This is how on the 13th, at 6:30 a.m., a trap cage was found in the colony, a car and three technicians who work for the public company Gesplan and who would have been capturing the cats and taking them to the Recovery Center of Fauna La Tahonilla, of the Cabildo ”.
“We have already removed seven of the last thirteen cats that were left in the area. They are already in two veterinary clinics and we want to rescue the others before they disappear ”, warns this SOS Felina representative. This group recognizes that cats can cause some damage to the environment, but they understand that there are more respectful alternatives: “We do not argue that cats can harm biodiversity, but it is not possible to act in this way. The relocation of the colonies could be considered in areas where there is risk. We are open to dialogue and to advance in these Capture, Sterilization and Release (CER) projects. Capturing and killing is not a solution to this problem ”.
SOS Felina hopes to collaborate soon with the municipalities of La Laguna and Santa Cruz in the implementation of pilot initiatives of the CER type in several colonies, as is already done in towns on the island such as Güímar, Tegueste, La Orotava or Garachico .
In the midst of the avalanche of criticism on social networks, the insular councilor for Natural Environment and Security Management, Isabel García (PSOE), issued yesterday the statement in which “she flatly denies the false news that attributes to the island corporation the elimination of colonies of feral cats ” . The counselor denounces "threats and harassment" by some people, and recalls that the Cabildo "has always collaborated with animal protection associations that have requested it, seeking mediation solutions regarding animals that are without custody in protected areas and that cause serious damage to biodiversity ”.
García does not rule out taking legal action "because one thing is to defend animals and another is to falsely accuse without contrasting either the source or the veracity of the information." García insists that it is the Cabildo's obligation to carry out essential actions to control these species both to guarantee the conservation of the natural environment and species in danger of extinction and to avoid risks of disease transmission among the population, always “taking measures that ensure the animal welfare".
The counselor recalls that Royal Decree 630/2013 states that "feral domestic animals such as cats are addressed in the Spanish Catalog of Invasive Exotic Species", where it is detailed that "when animals can cause damage to biodiversity, they may be considered as exotic invasive. This decree is based on the Basic Law of the State Law 42/2007 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, which requires the competent administrations to comply with it. Based on this legislation, the Cabildo avoids the damaging effects that feral animals can cause to biodiversity ”.
The councilor for the Environment and Sustainability area of the City Council of Tacoronte, Carmela Díaz, from Sí se Podemos, has also been the subject of numerous criticisms for her actions in this colony of cats, for which her party issued a statement in which she points out that "it is not true that an extermination of cats is being carried out, but that the Cabildo of Tenerife has only acted by capturing cats from a specific colony."
SSP adds that “this capture has been carried out in order to protect especially the baby gray shearwaters, since it has been found that, given their fragility and defenselessness, they are often preyed upon by cats. This seabird that annually visits the Canary Islands, in order to reproduce and breed on our coasts, is in a vulnerable state of conservation, which is why it is protected by law ”.
According to SSP, the action on the cat colony “was carried out after the concern expressed by several ornithologists to the Tacoronte City Council, and the visit to the place by the Councilor for the Environment, accompanied by the councilors of Health and Urban Planning. Given that La Fuentecilla is located in a rustic space and is an Asset of Cultural Interest, and that the competence of ensuring the conservation of protected wild species in these spaces corresponds to the Cabildo, the mayor informed the Insular Service of the situation. of Biodiversity. The Cabildo, based on its powers and following the established protocol, sent Gesplan crews to capture the cats, indicating that they would be treated in accordance with the criteria of animal welfare, as established by current legislation ”.
More than 1,800 signatures
The SOS Felina Association began a campaign to collect virtual signatures this Sunday, through Change.org, which in just 24 hours has managed to gather more than 1,800 supporters to demand that the mayor of Tacoronte apply the project for the ethical management of neighborhoods in feral cats in the municipality; the return of all the missing cats in the El Pris area to their original location, and that "the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of the Canary Islands stops capturing and sacrificing feral cats and applies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Animal Welfare of the Cabildo de Tenerife, the 0 sacrifice, which it boasts so much, and the only endorsed and effective method that allows control of feline populations: the Capture, Sterilization and Return to the colony of origin method ”. This group insists that “cats, even being in protected areas, they are domestic animals protected by law and the management of the populations by the Cabildo and city councils must be done in an ethical manner and with the established international veterinary and animal welfare protocols ”. For this reason, they demand that the Cabildo of Tenerife "set an example of being a progressive government updated to the ethical needs of the 21st century society." | RS
The Canarian Foundation Telesforo Bravo-Juan Coello condemns "the harassment campaign materialized in insults and threats suffered by the mayor of the Environment in Tacoronte for limiting herself to complying with the rules and acting in defense of the ashen shearwater chickens threatened by a colony of cats without an owner in their municipality ”. It also supports the action carried out by the Cabildo, through the public company Gesplan, to remove these animals.
The Tacoronte Animal Welfare Platform (PBAT) ensures that after going to the Civil Guard for the disappearance of the cats its members were "devastated with pain by those innocent animals" and asks for urgent help to "remove the few that remain."
Condemnation of Cs
Ciudadanos (Cs) in Tacoronte condemned "all kinds of violence against animals" and defended the application of the Capture, Sterilization and Release method.
Abeque supports the action
The Abeque Association also shows its support for the mayor of Tacoronte "in the face of the insults, threats and harassment she is suffering in social networks for supporting actions to control stray cats", and hopes that "these necessary control actions will continue and that extend to other municipalities given the proliferation of stray cats ”.