April 20, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
RON MAGILL, Zoo Communications Director
305-251-0400, ext. 84916 – Zoo Miami
ZOO MIAMI STATEMENT REGARDING TRAP, NEUTER, AND RE-HOMING (TNR) EFFORT ON SURROUNDING PROPERTY
In an effort to reduce a proven threat to the health and safety of Zoo Miami’s animal collection and endangered surrounding habitat and to meet USDA standards for animal health and wellness, the Zoo is working with the Miami-Dade Animals Services Department to trap, remove, and re-home an exploding population of feral/free-roaming cats from areas surrounding the zoo property. There will be no trapping in the Larry and Penny Thompson Campground.
Feral/free-roaming cats may transmit rabies, toxoplasmosis, and other parasitic diseases to both humans and wildlife. Zoo Miami has already suffered several losses to toxoplasmosis (a parasite shed by domestic cats in their feces) including a kangaroo and several monkeys while many other animals remain at risk for exposure and death.
In addition, these cats can carry Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia. This not only presents a serious threat to endangered felids in the zoo collection such as panthers, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguars, it also is a serious threat to pet cats that are being responsibly kept by their owners.
Over and above the threat to the zoo collection, feral/free-roaming cats are extremely detrimental to native wildlife and are believed to kill on average a million birds a day in the United States and billions of native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians on an annual basis. This is especially significant regarding the critically endangered Pine Rockland habitat that surrounds the zoo. Allowing cats to roam within these federally protected habitats is not only illegal, it adds significant stress to the delicate balance of those environments and can lead to irreplaceable losses of highly endangered species.
This Trap, Neuter, and Re-home (TNR) effort in collaboration with Miami-Dade Animal Services Department is essential to establishing a safe zone around the zoo to protect not only the zoo’s collection, but also the highly endangered habitats that surround the zoo. As with other successful efforts at A.D. Barnes Park and Crandon Park, the Animal Services Department will continue to re-home cats as part of the process.