How Cat Poop Is Killing the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals

monk-seal-pup-toxo-4-640x371Colonies of feral cats are thriving in neighborhoods all over Oahu, from the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus to Waianae’s homeless encampment, in alleys behind hotels and along trails in the mountains. But it’s not the smells or caterwauling that is of primary concern to scientists.  The biggest issue, federal and state scientists said, is the cats’ unique ability to spread toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that has killed at least eight critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, two spinner dolphins, nene geese and native birds over the past 15 years.  The problem is pitting scientists trying to save threatened marine mammals and other creatures against animal rights activists trying to save abandoned cats. “You need to stop it at the source, and that means preventing cats from defecating in the environment, whether it’s in the hills or on the beaches,” said Michelle Barbieri, a wildlife veterinary medical officer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Read the story here 10:24