Felixer arrives in Australia, the machine to kill wild cats and save native species

Felixer arrives in Australia, the machine to kill wild cats and save native species

“It will serve to give native species a chance to survive.” This is the purpose behind the arrival in Australia of Felixer, the machine designed to kill wild cats (and other predators) and avoid an environmental disaster that their predation is producing throughout the country.

The device shoots a toxic gel on wild cats “with the aim of saving millions of native animals killed every year by predators”, as explained by the Thylation group that is developing the device: it uses sensors to detect wild cats and foxes and then shoots a toxic gel on their fur. Predators lick the product from their coat and once ingested the poison will enter the bloodstream killing them.

This is how Felixer works, the machine that kills feral cats in Australia

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According to several research estimates, feral cats in Australia are responsible for the deaths of two billion native mammals, marsupials, reptiles, frogs and birds each year. Additionally, stray domestic cats kill another 390 million native animals each year.

The Felixer is able to distinguish between native species and wild cats, continuously improving its recognition ability thanks to the updating of the images of the targets in its software: the machine only works when two sensors simultaneously detect the shape of a cat or a fox: plays “audio lures” to attract them. A lower sensor prevents shooting the gel at animals such as echidnas and wombats, while an upper sensor ensures the safety of larger animals such as emus and dingoes. The device is powered by solar energy, contains 20 gel cartridges, self-regenerates after firing and takes photographs of all animals detected.

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The Australian government is investing in the distribution of the Felixer across the country to counter “the devastating impact of cats on native wildlife”. At present, $7.6 million has been allocated for its implementation in Western Australia, with the aim of increasing the number of decoys from 600,000 to 880,000 annually.

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The Felixer has passed the test stages and the results are said to be “promising”. It has received Commonwealth approval for large-scale implementation rather than research purposes. In studies conducted in Wooroonooran National Park and on a 2,600-hectare fenced property in South Australia, “the device demonstrated a high success rate in taking down feral cats without harming other wildlife,” the Daily Mail said. Twenty-five cats were removed from a stretch of just 10 kilometers.

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Despite the price tag of around $15,000 per device, efforts are underway to bring them down, “in order to make the machine more affordable for those who wish to help eradicate feral cats in Australia.”

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