HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A feral cat is believed to have been responsible for the ’massacre’ of nine endangered Hawaiian seabird chicks on Kauai in recent days, a spokesperson for the state Land Department said Friday.
The Hawaiian Petrel chicks were about a month old at the time of their deaths, scientists said.
What was described as a ’single, free-roaming cat’ was photographed on trail cameras in the area, and the partially-eaten baby birds were discovered outside their burrows.
“Our native birds have no natural defense against mammalian predators because they evolved on these isolated islands without any mammals present. Cats are particularly efficient non-native predators,” said Dr André Raine, Project Coordinator of the Kaua’i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project.
Scientists say Kauai is home to one-third of the world’s population of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel, which are extremely vulnerable to invasive predators like cats and pigs.
“As this incident clearly shows, just one cat getting into a colony can result in the deaths of a large number of these vulnerable birds in a very short time,” said Dr. Raine.