Feral cats have become such a problem in the Australian Outback, responsible for killing countless native birds and mammals (many of them endangered species) that the country is now considering using poison-spraying robots to control them.
According to a report by the Guardian, ecologist John Read came up with the plan, to employ a rigged laser-sighted robots to spray poison onto cats, and only onto cats, with the expectation that they’ll lick their fur and die, as a means of killing off the invasive felines without doing collateral damage.
He already has 4 of these grim mechanisms, after 7-years of development, which he claims will be able to determine their intended targets via rangefinders that scan an animal for its shape and height. According to Read, the box will shut-down if triggered by a taller animal such as a dingo the box will shut-down if triggered. Likewise, a laser programmed to “look for skinny legs, will work to avoid killing a paunchy ol’ wombat.”
“Only something the size and shape of a cat will catch a spray,” he stated.
Once the spray gets all over the cat’s fur, it will cause the fastidious groomers to lick themselves clean, resulting in self-poisoning. As for the choice of spray, Read has selected a toxin called 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) which occurs naturally in some Australian plants, so it shouldn’t be particularly harmful to native animals there. The downside is that the toxin is reported to be relatively slow-acting, leading to a drawn-out death for the cats.