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  1. ITV Report

Small New Zealand town plans to ban domestic cats

Cats in Omaui may have to be neutered, microchipped and registered. Credit: PA

A small town in New Zealand has announced unusual plans to ban domestic cats in a bid to protect its native wildlife.

Officials in Omaui have argued there is evidence to suggest cats are preying on native birds, insects and reptiles, causing damage to the town's natural landscape.

In a new "pest management plan," authorities in Omaui announced that when a cat dies they will then prevent residents from buying any new feline friends.

The arrangement would also require all domestic cats currently in the area to be microchipped, neutered and registered.

Many residents have argued Omaui is not the place for cats. Credit: Newshub

"We are not cat haters," Omaui Landcare Trust leader John Collins told Newshub.

"We'd like to see responsible pet ownership and this really isn't the place for cats."

Mr Collins is not the only conservationist holding this opinion.

"So your cat can live out its natural life at Omaui happily doing what it's doing," explained bio-security operations manager Ali Meade.

"But then when it dies, you wouldn't be able to replace it."

Bio-security operations manager Ali Meade. Credit: Newshub

The council have already implemented measures to control the number of rodents and possums in the area, but many Omaui locals see this move as a step too far.

They added that the increased wildlife would more than make up for the absence of a pet cat.

Residents have until October to register their views on Environment Southland's ban on moggies.

Omaui Scenic Reserve in New Zealand. Credit: Newshub