Meet Barry Green, who has declared an all out war on the feral cats of Kangaroo Island. The 65 year old man traps the cats, skins them, and tans their hides. According to his journal he has killed 1394 cats including a 16 pound monster he trapped last year.
The cats are a real problem on the island. They have decimated the native bird and mammal populations and threaten the islands sheep industry with disease. They were introduced back in 1844 and populations have grown to somewhere around 5,000.
To show you how big the problem is Since Europeans arrived to Australia 29 mammal species are now extinctions; feral cats have contributed to 28 of those. Each feral cat kills between 5-30 animals per day and around 1400 native animal deaths per year or 7000 over its lifespan. That means Green has saved millions of native creatures from premature death. He keeps a record of every cat killed, in a ledger, with the weight, color, sex and where it was found.
Barry does not let the cats go to waste. He uses the hides to try and fund his crusades. He sells pelts along with other accessories which include stubby holders (beer cozies), bookmarks, caps, fridge magnets, and even a toilet paper holder. He also made a suit for himself that is not for sale.
If you go to his house called “Feral End” you are in for quite the treat. He has decorated the house himself. On a wall is an artwork called “Curiosity”. It got the cat — get it? Kitty printed curtains open to reveal a meter wide panel of cat heads with native bird feathers stuffed in their mouths.
“Its art,” says Barry, “I give all my cats another life — I hate to waste a skin and they are much appreciated.”
He has received a lot of hate mail for his work but that is not going to stop him. Right now he say he is looking for someone to carry on his work. ‘I’m looking to take on an apprentice but they need to know it’s a tough and messy job and not for everyone.”
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