The greater bilby is a funny-looking creature: It most resembles a fat, grumpy mouse that’s stolen a tapir’s nose, shrunk it down, and glued it onto its face. It lives in Australia and is extremely endangered. There are only 600ish living in the wild.
[The main bilby] sanctuary is located in a relatively remote region of Currawinya National Park. Flooding in the park not only makes the sanctuary occasionally unreachable by humans, it also apparently damaged the fence last June, allowing several cats to make their way into the enclosure, with devastating results. “We estimated we could have had around 150 newborn bilbies inside that fence, and [the cats have] cleared the lot out,” Frank Manthey, co-founder of the Save the Bilby Fund, told the Australian network news show 7.30.
Tragedy! Australia couldn’t let that happen again. But a worrisome number of feral cats was showing up in the area, drawn by the scent of fresh bilby blood — or just hanging out like cats are wont to do. The government dispatched 3,000 of them over 16 days to keep them the hell away from the bilbies. And we love cats and all — we work on the internet, we have to! — but we have to admit that the world can probably spare 3,000 cats better than 150 bilby babies.
3,000 Feral Cats Killed to Protect Rare Australian Bilbies, Scientific American.