Wealthy Philanthropists Wage War. On Cats.

CC BY 2.0. NottsExMiner

With a $1 million donation, Andrew and Jane Cliffordhope will double the size of the world's largest cat-free sanctuary.

Cats kill way more wildlife than many of us realize, and the problem is particularly acute in areas where feral cats have become commonplace. While we've reported on cat rehab efforts in Japan aimed at protecting wild birds, it's a problem that perhaps doesn't get as much attention as some other environmental issues.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy, however, is on a major push to solve the feral cat problem, which it says costs the lives of 2,000 native animals every minute. They note that feral cats kill more than one million birds, more than one million reptiles, and more than one million mammals in Australia every day.

Specifically, the organization is focused on three main areas:

1. Establishing a national network of feral cat-free areas
2. Developing and implementing best practice feral cat control
3. Investing in gene drive technology with the ultimate goal of breeding feral cats out of existence

It's in the first of these areas where a major gift from Australian philanthropists Andrew and Jane Clifford is aiming to leave an impact—offering $1 million to fund the doubling of the world's largest cat-free sanctuary. According to The Guardian, the donation—which AWC hopes to raise match funding for—will be used to fund 135km of fencing, creating a 700 sq km sanctuary around an existing 94 sq km sanctuary near an old cattle station. Conservationists will then reintroduce up to 10 species of endangered marsupial into the sanctuary, with a goal of significantly increasing population numbers which have been decimated by feral cats.