The USA Nationwide Park Service (NPS) revealed a plan final week to take away tons of of stray cats from a historic website in Puerto Rico’s capital over the subsequent 12 months, as per Related Press. These cats, who roam the world freely, are seen as each a allure and an annoyance.
The company introduced plans to rent an animal welfare group for the elimination of roughly 200 cats inhabiting 75 acres round a fortress. The vacationer hotspot is situated within the San Juan Nationwide Historic Web site. As such, it’s operated by the federal company in Outdated San Juan. NPS additional added that if the chosen group doesn’t achieve eradicating the felines inside six months, it could rent a elimination company.
Many cat fanatics have expressed disappointment over this proposal. Nonetheless, NPS justified its determination by emphasizing that cats may probably transmit illnesses to people. The park service’s plan asserted that each one guests would profit from eliminating “potential illness vectors” from the vacationer website.
Ana María Salicrup is the secretary of the board of administrators for the nonprofit group Save a Gato. She is claiming that the six-month timetable for the elimination of the cats is unfeasible. The group at the moment cares for the animals and hopes to be the one to hold out the plan.
“Anybody who has labored with cats is aware of that’s not possible,” Salicrup acknowledged. “They’re setting us up for failure.”
Challenges for customer security and cultural preservation
Cats of all sizes, colours, and personalities stroll the coastal pathways surrounding the Sixteenth-century fortress “El Morro,” situated within the northwest nook of the San Juan capital. Individuals consider that a few of these felines descended from colonial-era cats, whereas the enduring Mayor Felisa Rincón de Gautier of San Juan launched the others to the town. Her goal was to regulate the rat inhabitants within the mid-Twentieth century. Nonetheless, the variety of cats has since grown into the tons of. This has introduced pleasure to some native residents and vacationers however irritation to others.
Federal officers acknowledged roughly two years in the past that the surging cat inhabitants was inflicting issues. Most unsettling amongst them is the unfavorable encounters occurring between the strays and guests. Officers additionally cited the more and more disagreeable odors of urine and feces as a supply of concern. Each points are seen as incongruous with the cultural setting.
Again in October 2022, company Superintendent Myrna Palfrey issued an announcement not too long ago shared within the New York Put up. In it, Palfrey acknowledged, “The scenario that these animals expertise on the park, particularly on the Paseo del Morro, is just not perfect for them.” Persevering with, she added that it’s also “inconsistent with Nationwide Park Service insurance policies relating to the feeding of animals and invasive species.”
Cats thought of a part of native allure
In an effort to extend the security of tourists and workers — whereas additionally safeguarding cultural and pure assets — NPS performed a listening to final 12 months. Because of that assembly, two potential options emerged: eradicating the cats or sustaining the present scenario.
Attendees decisively dismissed the primary choice. One particular person referred to the cats as “one of many wonders of Outdated San Juan.” In reality, a statue within the historic website they inhabit even pays tribute to those feline inhabitants.
Danna Wakefield, a photo voltaic contractor who relocated to Puerto Rico in 2020, visits the cats on a weekly foundation. Throughout an interview, she shared, “Me and plenty of different folks love that stroll due to the cats. In any other case, it could be a really boring stroll.”
The way forward for Outdated San Juan’s well-known felines
On Nov. 28, the plan launched by NPS mandated the elimination of current cat feeding stations except they serve a short lived objective of trapping cats. Moreover, the plan prohibits unauthorized cat feeding, because it attracts rats and encourages people to desert their pets, realizing they are going to be fed in that space.
In keeping with the company’s plan, the chosen animal welfare group will resolve whether or not to place the trapped cats up for adoption or home them with fosters. The group may select to ship the animals to a shelter or discover different choices.
Salicrup acknowledged the problem find houses for a lot of cats. She mentioned that Save a Gato has made makes an attempt to contact a number of sanctuaries in mainland U.S., however the typical response is all the time, “You can not carry 100 cats right here.”
NPS talked about the potential to increase the six-month deadline for cat trapping if there’s important progress. If there isn’t, they’d cancel the present contract earlier than hiring a distinct group to treatment the scenario.
“That is like Disney World for cats,” mentioned Alfonso Ocasio, an avid cat lover. “I don’t know the way these folks dare face the world with their proposal.”