A large number of felines has been mysteriously reported dead on a remote island near Kitakyushu, that is nicknamed “Cat Island,” for its large population of stray cats. While the cause of death is unknown, eyewitness accounts have testified seeing suspicious-looking cuts of fish that may have been poison bait.
Located approximately 10 kilometers from Kitakyushu City, Umashima has gained popularity as a tourist spot known for its idyllic scenery where the feline population roams freely. This small, remote island has about 30 residents. Around 90 cats were there five years ago.
The stray cats, which appear accustomed to human contact, used to be a common sight lined up along a road on the island. Although the continually expanding feline population posed a problem for residents, a citizens’ group from Fukuoka City proposed sterilizing the animals. Of the 90 cats confirmed on the island in 2014, 79 felines—excluding old ones—were spayed.
However, a huge decrease has recently been reported in the cat population which currently stands at around 30, Fuji TV reported.
According to an organization that carries out surveys on the cats, one probable cause behind the mysterious deaths is poison. In May, a witness recounted seeing cuts of fish with a blue-colored substance placed around several locations on the island, such as in the fields and in front of the fishermen’s cooperative office.
The Fukuoka-based citizens’ group is considering to file a criminal complaint based on the alleged violation of the Animal Welfare Act given the abnormal decline in the number of cats and evidence of the poison-laced food.© Japan Today