12 ways to protect the land

STEP 10: Control dogs, cats and livestock.

12 ways to protect the land
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Dogs and cats can have a major negative impact on the breeding success of large terrestrial birds and other creatures. Cats, for example, catch a variety of small creatures, such as lizards, frogs, mice and small birds, reducing populations of these creatures and even causing them to become locally extinct. Free-ranging livestock, meanwhile, can do much damage to natural habitats through overgrazing, trampling and, in the case of pigs, predation on nests and small animals.


  • Ensure your pets don’t roam freely in areas where birds are breeding or roosting.
  • Restrict livestock to areas where they’re meant to graze.
  • Feral (domesticated animals that have become wild) cats, dogs and pigs should be eradicated, but not with the careless use of poison.
  • Discourage farm employees from keeping large numbers of pets.

Benefits to you

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  • Elimination of feral animals will help control the spread of animal diseases.
  • In the case of feral pigs, elimination will also limit damage to crops.
  • Control of dogs will help to prevent attacks on innocent people.
  • An absence of feral (and domestic) cats will bring about the presence of a richer collection of small wildlife.

Source: Harrison, J & Young, D; 2010. Farming for the Future: Farming Sustainably with Nature. Animal Demography Unit, UCT.