200 feral cats TNR’ed and sterilized at former US air force base in South Korea

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Cat - TNR at army base Korea

Mass sterilization has taken place at an army garrison in Seoul, Korea (YONGSAN GARRISON). It took a lot of effort by the organizers to achieve this because the first problem was that it is illegal to abandon cats at the army base. Under trap neuter release programs (TNR) cats are automatically released and therefore that would have been a violation of the rules. They managed to overcome this and other hurdles and decided that a mass TNR program was the best course of action. TNR is not automatically accepted as the preferred solution so well done to the organizers.

TNR'ed cat at S. Korean army base.

A stray cat crouches in a cage at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Sept. 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Racheal E. Watson)

They don’t know where the cats came from. The base has been occupied by the US military since the 1950-53 Korean War and the Japanese colonial forces before that.

It’s possible that soldiers and members of the military community abandoned their cats on the site (when being transferred out of the base?). This is speculation because none of the cats were micro-chipped.

The TNR program was organised by Kerri Burrows, a native of Colombia, Missouri, USA. She has two decades of experience working with cats. She got the go-ahead to do this in February. She contacted South Korean and Americans who had been feeding the cats.

South Korean veterinarians were recruited to do the surgery pro bono. This was managed through a local shelter. To start the program they left food out of the open so when food was placed in the traps they would be used to it thereby facilitating the trapping.

Last Saturday, about 30 volunteers from the shelter as well as local residents trapped 76 cats. 73 of the cat underwent the sterilisation surgery. This indicates that just three cats were domestic. A team of 26 South Korean veterinarians and assistants performed the surgery.

Burrows was very pleased with the veterinarians and their assistants. She said that they were fabulous and that their incisions were impeccable. They plan to repeat the process in the autumn possibly to trap some remaining cats and the ones that got away on Saturday.

Burrows wants the military to change their policy. She’d like the military to change their guidance for pest control. I believe that she means changing policy in how to deal with feral cats which by the way are not pest in my view! Perhaps she means that the military manual refers to feral cats as pests.

I am thankful to the military.com website for the story.