The need for residents living near Shakespear Regional Park to keep domestic cats away from the park, as well as the Open Sanctuary within it, was highlighted this month. Their cat’s life could depend on it.
Recently there have been a number of sightings of cats in the park at the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. As the paper goes to print, a cat is also at large within the pest proof fence.
Many people are not aware that even microchipped cats can be euthanised if they are found in the regional park more than once.
Auckland Council’s northern principal ranger Scott de Silva says in recent months there has been a marked increase in the number of cats seen on the park’s monitors, particularly at night. Five have been seen, mainly in the buffer zone just outside the pest proof fence, and one is being tracked within the sanctuary. In 2017, no cats were caught within the fence and last year a total of two were caught.
Mr de Silva says cats can cause a lot of damage to vulnerable native species in a very short time, which is why Council is taking a relatively hard approach.
Any cat that is trapped within the pest proof fence will be euthanised, he says, but in the regional park, there is a two-strikes policy.
“If a microchipped cat, or one that can be identified as owned via a collar, is caught in the park we will let the owner know and return the cat if possible. If we catch the same animal again, it will be euthanised, microchip or not.”
Mr de Silva says he appreciates many people may see a microchip as a safe bet, but it is not.
He says while it is hard for owners to keep cats contained, especially during the day, residents near the park need to be aware that the sanctuary is a predator free place.
There is an annual leaflet drop in the area 1.2km from the park, which is expected to happen soon.