Galapagos kitties exterminated
June 11, 2008 8:15 PM   Subscribe

What would have evolved in 10,000 years? Feral cats have long-established colonies on the islands of the Galapagos chain.
posted by longsleeves (73 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Darwin Foundations kills kittens? It's like the perfect Fark headline.
posted by orthogonality at 8:20 PM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now all we need is plan for the U.S.-useless creatures.
posted by brickman at 8:23 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cats with various beak shapes?
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:24 PM on June 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Scientists to exterminate Rat Island residents.

(Which I believe was posted here a few days ago?)

It is wonderful when scientists can restore a natural environment to a place such as this.
posted by LarryC at 8:24 PM on June 11, 2008


There was a rat population explosion on the cat island. Now that the cats are gone, aren't the rats going to go boomtown and eat all the lizards?

Or maybe the lizards are rat-eaters, in which case it'll all work out fine.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 PM on June 11, 2008


"So, what do you do for a living?"

"I have spent seven years shooting, trapping, and poisoning cats by the thousands and will not stop until I achieve their complete eradication so that I can repopulate my island with small iguanas in the name of Charles Darwin. You?"
posted by bicyclefish at 8:30 PM on June 11, 2008 [28 favorites]


Now all we need is plan for the U.S.-useless creatures.

Do you really think humans would have widely domesticated cats if they served no purpose? Cats drastically reduce rat and mouse populations, without competing for any of the animals we like to eat. And rats and mice, as you probably know, are the breeding grounds for many nasty human diseases. And while they may reduce local bird populations, birds are also host to some nasty bacteria. And then there's the psychological benefits, and in times of famine they're much easier to hunt than aves and rodents.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:31 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you really think humans would have widely domesticated cats if they served no purpose?

Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.
posted by brickman at 8:36 PM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


"So, what do you do for a living?"

"I have spent seven years shooting, trapping, and poisoning cats by the thousands and will not stop until I achieve their complete eradication so that I can repopulate my island with small iguanas in the name of Charles Darwin. You?"


You laugh, but I used to see a lot of job ads like that when I was reading fish and wildlife type job lists. See also.
posted by Tehanu at 8:50 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.

tiptoes away from possible displaced anger
posted by longsleeves at 9:02 PM on June 11, 2008 [18 favorites]


That kitty with the nasty cold blooded icky lizard in it's mouth is so cute!
posted by mattoxic at 9:10 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obviously the end result of too much masturbation. God, in her ineffably humourous way, has sent Darwinians to kill kittens.

That's just delicious.
posted by padraigin at 9:20 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.


I can see that this is a very important issue to you.
posted by anazgnos at 9:23 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


"What would have evolved in 10,000 years?"

Why, why nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. [blink] How could something evolve?
posted by Naberius at 9:41 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't mind them, I just don't think they belong in Oz.
posted by Wolof at 9:45 PM on June 11, 2008


Er, cats, that is.
posted by Wolof at 9:45 PM on June 11, 2008


Feral cat is watching you mass SFA bait.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:46 PM on June 11, 2008


"I have spent seven years shooting, trapping, and poisoning cats by the thousands and will not stop until I achieve their complete eradication so that I can repopulate my island with small iguanas in the name of Charles Darwin."

"I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."

Wesley: Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a great Dread Pirate Roberts.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unless I'm missing something, nothing has evolved here. Cats were introduced and thrived, but they don't seem to have evolved specialised iguana-eating teeth or anything.
posted by twirlypen at 9:51 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or some sweet iguana blastin' lasers.
posted by ninjew at 10:09 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah what's going on with this post exactly?
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 10:11 PM on June 11, 2008


Did anyone actually read this?

"Removal of the remaining cats was complicated by a weather-induced eruption of rats Rattus rattus, and mice Mus musculus, that enabled recruitment of kittens in 2002, but made cats more sucseptible to trapping and shooting in 2003 when the rodent population collapsed."

Recruitment of kittens, people! Let's get serious! We're facing a dangerous enemy here!
posted by medialyte at 10:28 PM on June 11, 2008


Now if they'd just start in on the worst invasive species.

Wikipedia:
In 1959, approximately 1,000 to 2,000 people called the islands their home. In 1972 a census was done in the archipelago and a population of 3,488 was recorded. By the 1980s, this number had risen to more than 15,000 people, and 2006 estimates place the population around 40,000 people.
UNESCO:
A UNESCO mission has confirmed serious threats to the Galápagos National Park and Marine Reserve and welcomed ambitious measures announced by the Ecuadorian authorities to preserve the site on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The mission confirmed the threat to the outstanding value and physical integrity of this iconic World Heritage site mainly from: the growing encroachment of invasive species, increasing human immigration, uncontrolled development of tourism, and the failure of various institutions and agencies to deal with these threats.
posted by pracowity at 10:41 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I interpreted "recuitment of kittens" to mean there was enough food that the cats bore bigger litters.

'cause otherwise it makes little to no sense. Cats can't be recruited. They might volunteer, but they sure as heck aren't going to be recruited. Doing a human's bidding is simply beneath them.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


And rats and mice, as you probably know, are the breeding grounds for many nasty human diseases.

You say this like it is a bad thing....
posted by three blind mice at 10:44 PM on June 11, 2008


Yeah what's going on with this post exactly? Wait.
posted by longsleeves at 10:49 PM on June 11, 2008


This guy?
posted by puke & cry at 10:50 PM on June 11, 2008


.
posted by arnicae at 10:54 PM on June 11, 2008



Cats with various beak shapes?

Keepin it real with the finchiness
posted by longsleeves at 11:04 PM on June 11, 2008


See also: Judas goats.

In 10,000 years, maybe all that'll be left on the Galapagos is furry, swimming post-humans with small, harmless brains.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:19 PM on June 11, 2008


Yeah what's going on with this post exactly?

I don't know, but there's that one guy who doesn't seem to like cats much. An opinion sure to make him popular on MetaFilter.
posted by ninjew at 11:20 PM on June 11, 2008


Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.

Did you get sick once after eating too many?
posted by Brian B. at 11:25 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you really think humans would have widely domesticated cats if they served no purpose?

Their purpose might always have been as pets and toys, status symbols and companionship, rather than as direct inputs to our public health or food technology. Although if we can domesticate them I suppose a protein-starved human group might have pressed them into use as a food animal. A monstrously inefficient one, I'd guess.
posted by alasdair at 11:51 PM on June 11, 2008


If they fed the cats to the rats and the rats to the cats, they'd get the cat skins for nothing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:03 AM on June 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


At night, hunters removed cats with spotlights and rifles.

THIS IS WRONG!!!


Yes, I've picked my side...have you???
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:38 AM on June 12, 2008


Yes, but did they take into account the flying cats that are heading to the mainland right now?

My God, is it Jurassic Park all over again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:25 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I gotta say, this has to be among the more misleading headlines posted on MeFi of late. The entire story is that cats have been killed off an island to which they weren't native, to balance a local ecosystem. Okay, that's cool. There's all kinds of interesting stuff to talk about (and, ahem, link to) with ecosystem restoration.

But what the hell does evolution have to do with that? You might as well have led off with: "Saving the site of a future spaceport" or "The Large Hadron Collider is not, repeat, not on this island." Hell, you could have gone with "Giraffes absolutely deplore that some shrubs dare to grow low to the ground" and gotten just about as much of a sensible link.
posted by Malor at 2:15 AM on June 12, 2008


(and, yeah, I realize... Darwin, like that. Gossamer-thin.)
posted by Malor at 2:16 AM on June 12, 2008


Anyone that thinks cats are smelly has clearly never met a dog. Or me.
posted by Sparx at 2:39 AM on June 12, 2008


A monstrously inefficient one, I'd guess.
I doubt that. Less efficient than any herbivore, sure, but they eat rats, birds and insects that are small and harder to hunt in sufficient quantities.

Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.

...
When did 4chan link to metafilter?
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:39 AM on June 12, 2008


Now all we need is plan for the U.S.-useless creatures.

Does it always have to be about Bush on this site?
posted by DreamerFi at 2:43 AM on June 12, 2008


Does it always have to be about Bush on this site?

It is a hairy situa...
posted by maxwelton at 3:00 AM on June 12, 2008


I see the title as referring to what might have happened if the cats weren't exterminated. I think? Since all the adorable kitties have been erased, we'll never know what cuteness might have come. And also super cat-resistant iguana monsters.
posted by palidor at 3:24 AM on June 12, 2008


Yeah what's going on with this post exactly?

I believe it was a Red Dwarf reference, but that took 3,000,000 years. Evolution sneers at your puny 10,000-year interval.
posted by yhbc at 4:19 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It seems Ben Stein was half right: Darwinism leads to kittie holocaust.
posted by aldurtregi at 4:41 AM on June 12, 2008


wait...cats are operating a space port?

wow...just wow...
posted by HuronBob at 4:41 AM on June 12, 2008


Removal of the remaining cats was complicated by a weather-induced eruption of rats

Weather induced? Eh, no. Kill the natural predator and the island is over-run with stinkin RATS. Mother nature, muckin your plan, blamin the kittins.
posted by stbalbach at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2008


LOL, Cats!
posted by Debaser626 at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2008


Ze tortoises, zey do nutting!
posted by steef at 6:02 AM on June 12, 2008


(Is it possible that "Brickman" is a chihuaha?)
posted by Dizzy at 6:03 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you really think humans would have widely domesticated cats if they served no purpose?

Didn't cats domesticate themselves?
posted by vbfg at 6:08 AM on June 12, 2008


IM ON UR ISLAND
GETTING KILLED BY THESE D00DS
posted by adipocere at 6:31 AM on June 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the whole rat explosion thing bothers me. What stops the rat population from going nuts now, with no rat-eating predators on the island? Certainly rats and mice aren't native to the island either.

So long as this saves native Galapagos critters (like the blind albino cave hoek), I'm cool with the cat eradication. It seems mean, as a cat person, but as a scientist I understand the issue.

...and brickman - jesus. You sound like the kind of guy who would cause an accident swerving across three lanes of traffic just to hit a stray cat, and would be satisfied with the resulting wreck so long as you hit it. Try some anger management classes or something. I don't want to have anything to do with a person that finds it amusing to kill other animals simply out of spite.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:32 AM on June 12, 2008


Man, Darwin must have been a real asshole. I never realized. Screw you, Darwin!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2008


Drats

Can anyone lend me
Two eighty-pound rats?
I want to rid my house of cats.

--Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:53 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I interpreted "recuitment of kittens" to mean there was enough food that the cats bore bigger litters.

'cause otherwise it makes little to no sense. Cats can't be recruited. They might volunteer, but they sure as heck aren't going to be recruited. Doing a human's bidding is simply beneath them.


I think it is a slightly odd use here. I see it most often used in botany or in fishery contexts. But generally recruitment means the younger life stages survive to a certain point in the life cycle. For cats, maybe that means reproductive maturity. So no, I don't think it necessarily means bigger litters. Just that more kittens made it to adulthood, probably.
posted by Tehanu at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2008


Didn't cats domesticate themselves?

I believe the thinking is that they became domesticated when humans started storing grains. Grains attract rats, rats attract cats, and humans preferred the cats to the rats.

Plus cats carry toxiplasmosis, which turns out to infect humans and make them think cats are the be-all and end-all.

So they learned to tolerate us, we went mental over them, they developed increasing levels of cuteness, and thus an uneasy alliance was forged.

Except with the brickman/chihuahua. Immune to the toxiplasmosis disease, and threatened by their sharp claws, he spends his days hating.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 AM on June 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


But what the hell does evolution have to do with that?


Given the context and importance to scientific history of these islands, longsleeves was considering the possible divergent evolutionary paths the cats' descendants might take.

Man, Darwin must have been a real asshole. I never realized. Screw you, Darwin!


I tend to think it makes him more awesome than an asshole, but, when he was going around cataloging all these new and exotic species, he made a point of eating a good number of them.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:14 AM on June 12, 2008


At night, hunters removed cats with spotlights and rifles.

The Light Fantastic : Yes, I've picked my side...have you???

Yes. And in following with the traditions of how my country deals with this sort of thing, I'm going to be arming the cats with rifles and spotlights of their own, and calling them 'freedom fighters kitties'.

It's the only way to stop the inevitable domino effect of the godless communist mice menace.
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on June 12, 2008


I vote that "recruitment of kittens" become the plural phrase.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:53 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rifles and spotlights? Jeez, they just need some kudzu to choke out the cats.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 AM on June 12, 2008


I vote that "recruitment of kittens" become the plural phrase.

It's kindle.
posted by Tehanu at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2008


Darwin Foundations kills kittens?

Yes. Every time you read the Book of Genesis.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2008


Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.

Brickman, you are nucking futz. Have you ever even been near a cat? Because they are like the only animal that doesn't smell. Their litterboxes can but, at worst, a healthy cat will smell faintly musty.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:37 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only a rather ill cat will have a bodily funk to it, even wild ones are fairly odorless. They generally smell like "outside," if anything at all. I have found few olfactory joys better than, upon seeing that a cat has come in from the outside, grasping it (front legs in my left, hind legs in my right), lifting said cat to my face, then burying my schnozz in the cat's fur and taking a whiff - you can smell it all: autumn leaves, the neighbors barbeque, grass - concentrated in a convenient cat unit. This is especially nice in winter, when they smell like fireplaces.

Of course, the cats do not like this treatment much, but that's the price they must pay for cuteness.
posted by adipocere at 11:59 AM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Don't care if the blood of cats were cure-all for every disease known to man. Hate then suckers with burning passion of a 1000 suns. Smelly creature that don't deserve to live.

I see. How do you feel about dogs?


All six of my nipples are tingling with delight! Waaa-oh! A mirror! Sorry, dudes, I'm gonna be here all day!
posted by loquacious at 12:14 PM on June 12, 2008


I see. How do you feel about dogs?

Best animal know to man. Great hunting partner and protector of property. What did cats ever do, but smell up the place, kill birds and rabbits I enjoy hunting, and act superior to anything around them. Recommend conversation department in every state put a bounty on the all cats. They serve no useful purpose to man. Dogs could be trained to kill rats and mice, and there are several breeds that are excellent rodent killers.
posted by brickman at 3:14 PM on June 12, 2008


I suspect brickman is a dog that has learned to type.
posted by flaterik at 3:49 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brickman, do you really hunt sparrows and bluejays? That seems just breathtakingly pointless.
posted by longsleeves at 3:57 PM on June 12, 2008


Hating cats seems pointless, too, seeing as they really don't give a good goddamn what anyone thinks of them.

Dogs, OTOH, get seven sorts of weepy and depressed if they feel they're not wanted. Pathetic beasts.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:49 PM on June 12, 2008


I suspect brickman is a dog that has learned to type

No I'm human, however I have taught my dog to type and to paint. Ever see the painting of dogs playing poker? Now you know the artist-my dog Benji.

Dogs, OTOH, get seven sorts of weepy and depressed if they feel they're not wanted. Pathetic beasts.


Yes they can be, but to cheer them up, just feed them cats.
posted by brickman at 6:21 PM on June 12, 2008


Cat diary vs. dog diary

Dogs are whores. Cats are pimps.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best animal know to man. Great hunting partner and protector of property.

That was a rhetorical question with a predictable answer.
posted by loquacious at 8:22 PM on June 12, 2008


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