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A New Home For Ferals

Nov. 3, 2009

The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif. dedicated a habitat built for feral cats rescued from San Nicolas Island today, and thanked for their generous help with the project.

"This project is a testament to the commitment of multiple agencies to find common ground and develop solutions for feral cats in areas with threatened or endangered species. The cats from San Nicolas Island deserve the opportunity to live a full and happy life, and we're proud to provide that at our sanctuary," said Betsy McFarland, The HSUS' Companion Animals senior director.

The HSUS has helped rescue more than 50 feral cats who would otherwise have been euthanized on San Nicolas Island — the outermost of the Channel Islands of California. This happy ending for the cats is the result of close cooperation between The HSUS, multiple state and federal agencies and corporate sponsors. The island is owned by the U.S. government, which has used it as a missile telemetry site for the U.S. Navy since the 1950s. Unsterilized cats taken to the island, who were allowed to roam or escaped, are the ancestors of today's island population of cats.

"The partnership with The Humane Society of the United States is providing a more secure future for the feral cats, and making San Nicolas Island a safer place for nesting seabirds and their young," said Jane Hendron, public affairs division chief for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal and state agencies joined with the U.S. Navy to remove the feral cats from San Nicolas Island, in order to improve the nesting success for seabirds who rely on the island. Removal of the cats  also benefits other native species on the island, including the unique San Nicolas Island fox and federally threatened island night lizard. All of the cats would have been euthanized had it not been for the efforts of The HSUS and the Fund for Animals, which stepped up to provide them with a permanent home. The new, natural outdoor habitat at the Wildlife Care Center was constructed thanks to the financial support of

It was a stressful transition for the cats from being trapped on the island and flown to the wildlife center, but they are doing well and adjusting beautifully to their new outdoor habitat. Cats are climbing the trees that were incorporated into their enclosure and are rubbing against one another in greeting. The cats relax in the sun and play with one another.

"We're excited to have been a part of rescuing both the cats and the native wildlife at San Nicolas Island," said Stacy Ybarra, senior director of corporate communications at "We're proud that was able to give these cats a second chance to live at this new habitat."

The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center is closed to the public, but was open to press for the event and by appointment. The wildlife center is a wildlife rehabilitation center, and does not accept feral domestic animals or domestic animals from the public.

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