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In the heart of Australia, part of what makes this continent unique is fading away.The nation is in the grip of an extinction crisis in areas where life’s hold is most tenuous.

Since settlement, at least 29 ­native mammal species have ­disappeared.

Feral cats are implicated in all but one of those extinctions. One in five native mammal species is threatened by cats and 124 are in danger of extinction.

There could be as many as 20 million feral cats in Australia — six times the number kept as pets — killing tens of millions of native creatures every night.


There is no known easy way to wipe out feral cats.

But an ambitious group of conservationists, philanthropists and desert dreamers, led by not-for-profit the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, plans to build a vast “mainland island”. Read more