Island Cat Colonies

The most interesting colonies of wild domestic cats are those situated on islands, some with centuries of history and of an unknown origin.

Other are more recent, for example, a colony at a desert island of the hybrids, the Shillay Island, near to the northwestern side of Scotland, it was installed there in 1942, when the people of a small fishing town left the island. Actually, cats live there in a totally autonomous way, safe during the summer, when some fishing ship goes by or when some ornithologist visit the island.

Another interesting colony can be found on the really small Marion Island, situated in the South of the Indian Ocean, near to the polar Antarctic circle. It is difficult to imagine a more inhospitable environment for cat: at less then 500 km. Of the floating  has of ice of the Antarctic. The medium temperature during the year is of a bit more than cero degrees and the gelid winds is the most usual phenomena The Marion Island is under the dominion of south Africa, and in 1949 they decided to take five cats to control the rodent population at the meteorological station posted there. In the year of 1974 from five cats there were now a colony of more than a thousand.

The South Pacific Islands count with colonies of wild domestic cats, from the Galapagos Archipelago, next to the Western Coast of South America, to the North Islands of New Zealand.

On some islands, as the Galapagos, the cats were introduced deliberately, but in other the causes of their arrival are lost in time.

Thanks to the volcanic terrain, there are numerous fissures and gorges where to take refuge.

On these isolated habitants, with few variations in the fauna, the wild domestic cats assume soon a dominant position and they feed on the new burns of exotic sea birds: on the Galapagos Islands, they feed on giant turtles, and even disobey the basic dietetic rules of the specie of not to feed on carrion.

Myth or reality?
The great extension of wild domestic cats colonies along the south pacific could explain a great-unknown question of anthropology.

Although there is no originating feline of Australia, the art and the folklore of the aborigines include references of a “great hunting cat”.

The first populations arrived to the north of Australia about 50,000 years ago, after going through the Western Isles of the pacific. It is very possible that they picked some cats there, deliberately or accidentally, and that later on the feline population had suffered some catastrophe with not enough specimens to continue the specie. In any case, the figure of the cat survived in the culture of the aborigines.

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