Back on Oahu, where cats are easily found...

A few of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve cats.  Some have an ear-tip (sign of spay or neuter) and others do not.

So I was in the Sydney and surrounding area for a couple of weeks, and visited a number of coastal cities large and small up the Gold Coast over another week.  Then I visited 3 islands in New Caledonia, including the capital city of Noumea.  I asked about free-roaming cats with security officers, police, and lifeguards... people who are outside a lot, and pay attention to details.  I found 1 cat (in Noumea), and heard lots of stories about cats "over there" but not "here."

Hanauma Bay cats being fed.
Then, I returned to Oahu.  Between the Hawaii Kai Park & Ride, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and Manoa Theater I saw dozens of cats, some clearly socialized, and others very wild.  I also saw many mongoose, chickens, and pigeons running or flying around at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  In Hanauma Bay, I can imagine a complex food web... pigeons, mongoose, and cats eat offerings of cat food, plus garbage, and the cats eat baby mongoose and naive pigeons, the mongoose eat pigeon eggs and squabs and perhaps kittens, and the pigeons just keep reproducing in protected alcoves on the cliff wall. 

Ear-tipped Manoa Theater cat
Community cat found in Noumea, New Caledonia.
I don't mean to imply that there are no cats in Sydney and Noumea, and a mere "dozens" in Oahu.  I know officials in Sydney have concerns about free-roaming cats.  I plan to track down a vet in Noumea to discuss cats (although I don't speak French... I need to practice my "le chat."  There have to be cats.  But in Noumea, for example, I wandered the harbors, the vegetable and meat markets, a downtown urban park, and streets in both upscale and graffiti-plagued neighborhoods, and only saw a single cat, a community cat named PaPa or PawPaw.

But the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, managed by the City and County of Honolulu, is not the place anyone should expect to see free-roaming and feral cats (as well as mongoose and pigeons, and probably the chickens, although I've been told that the chickens are used as "centipede control").  The fact that no one seems to be able or willing to take ownership over these animals or their management is the telling part of the story.  Every agency involved has a valid or semi-valid reason not to do anything... not the mission, no funding, no expertise, supervisors or politicians won't allow management, can't keep workers from feeding, no funding, animals keep getting dumped off, can't keep the animals out, conflicting or unworkable laws and regulations, no funding... 

Many visitors at Hanauma Bay seem to enjoy the presence of cats.

I have my ideas, of course (I'd tell you, but then I'd have to defend them, so pass).  Seriously, for all the concerns over the impacts of Oahu's cats on terrestrial and marine wildlife, human health, and community aesthetics, if people can't get together regarding the few dozen cats at Hanauma Bay, then why would we ever expect cooperation on a larger scale crossing multiple political boundaries and agency responsibilities?

I will continue to investigate feral and free-roaming cat management during my travels.

Manoa Valley community cat.
Community cat on Beretania Avenue.

Hawaii Kai Park & Ride cat.


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