It might seem extreme, but then isn’t the unhindered killing of native Australian wildlife by an introduced species extreme. By all accounts, literally, the amount of killing is extreme, so much so that some species have been driven to extinction by the introduced domestic cat, gone feral and supplemented by people allowing their domestic pet cats to roam.
So while it might seem extreme, the measures taken by Grampian Council thirty years ago, seem reasonable and extremely effective, even though there is not much hard science to back it up. But surely, the regular observation of local native species is all the evidence we need to keep such a measure in place. Here’s the story as told by Daniel Miles: Grampians council mayor says Halls Gap cat ban of 30 years is working (ABC South West Victoria, 15 Jun 2023). Daniel reports that:
The audacious move – anyone caught in the town with a cat faces a $100 fine – was designed to protect the sanctuary provided by the Grampians Ranges, also known as Gariwerd. It remains in place, but no-one knows for sure whether it actually worked.
Halls Gap is nestled in the heart of Victoria’s Grampians National Park, a stunning mountain range that is home to some of Australia’s most iconic – and threatened – species.
The ban was introduced with much fervour in October 1993 and incorporated into the local laws of the Northern Grampians Shire Council. It was an attempt to preserve vulnerable plants and animals, such as bandicoots and gliders.
Mayor Kevin Erwin joined the council 10 years after the ban was introduced.
A sign reading Cats are Prohibited in Halls Gap – (Supplied: Facebook)
Header image: The stomach contents of a feral cat separated into birds (yellow), antechinus (red) and a skink (blue). (Supplied: Parks Victoria/Halls Gap Community Newsletter)
He said the ban “must be working” because there were not many cats around. Because of the myriad of native animals that are living the Grampians, I think most people think it’s probably a good thing,” Cr Erwin said.
Halls Gap Community Group president David Witham said the measure was contentious when first introduced, but most people had come around to it.