In Kerguelen, the puzzle of the eradication of wild cats

REPORT – Big cats have proliferated on the archipelago and are endangering albatross populations. If deemed necessary, their elimination faces several hurdles, logistical and political.

Special Envoy to the Kerguelen Islands

“We were asked not to tell you too much about it.” Wishing to fill the awkward silence that follows his remark, our interlocutor goes in search of a sponge to wipe the coffee that the roll of the Marion Dufresne overflowed our cups placed on the non-slip carpet of the bar of the ship melting at high speed towards the Kerguelen. Then to concede: “But yes, we have been trying for a long time to regulate the cat population on the island.” Regulate? “Castration, chemical or otherwise, is super expensive and very complicated. So we eliminate them.” Eliminate, not to say hunt? “I don’t really know if we can talk about hunting”, he dodges, mechanically continuing to clean the already clean counter.

The discomfort of our friend with whom we are traveling to the southern islands of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Taaf) is not surprising: of all the species that the animal kingdom is home to, what more endearing figure than the cat? But…

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