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Biologists: Pet cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mice annually

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Domestic cats in the United States kill up to 3.7 billion birds and as many as 20.7 billion mice, voles and other small mammals each year, biologists estimated on Tuesday.

Puss is probably the biggest human-induced killer of these species, outstripping better-known culprits such as habitat loss, agricultural chemicals or hunting, they said in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

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A team led by Scott Loss at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington looked at published research into the predation habits of cats.

Cats that have outdoors access kill between 30 and 47 birds apiece in temperate parts of Europe and North America each year, and between 177 and 299 mammals, according to past investigations.

The next step was to get an estimate of the number of cats in the United States.

Loss’s team calculated there were around 84 million cats with owners, of which a couple of million are unlikely to have outdoor access or go hunting.

Added to that are between 30 and 80 million “unowned” cats — animals that are wild or free-ranging but without an owner and survive on goodwill.

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“We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals annually,” says the study.

“Unowned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality.”

The paper says the estimates are much bigger than previously thought, and show that cats “are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic [man-made] mortality for US birds and mammals.”

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It adds: “Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention [are] needed to reduce this impact.”

The study tried to get a fix on the numbers of reptiles and amphibians that are killed by cats, but drew a blank.

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According to the famous “Red List” compiled by the/ International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), cats on islands have caused or contributed to the extinctions of 33 species of birds, mammals and reptiles.

The study coincides with a fierce debate in New Zealand, where Gareth Morgan, a businessman turned philanthropist, has called for cats there to be eradicated to save the country’s unique species of wildlife, which includes the flightless kiwi.


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Trump supporter Steve Cortes loses it after Rick Wilson brings up war crimes prosecutions

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The spokesperson for the "official" pro-Trump SuperPAC was admonished twice by an MSNBC anchor on Saturday night during a segment on impeachment that quickly went off the rails.

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid was anchoring a Saturday night special titled, "the impeachment trial of Donald Trump."

Her panel included Rick Wilson, the author of the bestselling 2018 book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever and Steve Cortes, the spokesperson for America First PAC.

Wilson explained why Republican senators refuse to stand up to Trump.

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China reports 323 new cases of mysterious virus — as death toll rises to 54

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The number of confirmed deaths from a viral outbreak in China has risen to 54, with authorities in hard-hit Hubei province on Sunday reporting 13 more fatalities and 323 new cases.

The latest numbers from Hubei, the epicentre of the contagion, would put the nationwide total of confirmed infections at 1,610, based on figures previously released by the central government.

President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced a "grave situation" as authorities raced to contain a respiratory illness that has caused the widespread abandonment of Lunar New Year celebrations nationwide and overwhelmed health facilities in Hubei.

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California offers to reimburse Trump for abortions — but he has to free the women from non-disclosure agreements

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The state of California is offering to reimburse President Donald Trump for any abortions he's paid for in the state, but there's a catch.

On Friday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a "notice of violation" against the state for mandating universal abortion coverage in health insurance plans sold in the state, which the administration claims is "unlawful discrimination."

“Once again, President Trump’s administration is delivering on his promise to protect human life and all Americans’ freedom of conscience,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

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