INCHEON, Jul. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Local authorities in Incheon are retrieving food bowls for stray cats to control the soaring feline population on Mount Gyeyang.
Officials from Incheon’s Gyeyang District said that they have been retrieving cat shelters and food bowls placed near the entrance to the mountain since Thursday.
The District Office put up banners along the mountain’s hiking trails that ask hikers to refrain from feeding the cats. The city government also plans to install traps throughout the trail to capture stray cats and neuter them.
The recent measures come as the flourishing stray cat population on Mount Gyeyang is raising concerns of damage to the local ecosystem.
City officials estimate that there are currently more than 150 cats living on the mountain and its surrounding regions.
The public is divided over the effectiveness of the local government’s recent measures.
Local residents who support the idea of population control are calling on authorities to apply stronger measures as stray cats are instilling fear among hikers and making a mess of the local environment.
On the other hand, animal protection groups are calling against the retrieval of food bowls for the cats and depriving them of their means of acquiring food.
“In Australia, controversy looms over the plan of removing millions of cats that are damaging the ecosystem,” said Han Seong-yong, head of Wildlife Institute of Korea.
“South Korea also needs restrictions on cats, and there needs to be a social consent on how we should control the stray cat population.”
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)