Barry Green continues to declare an all out war on the feral cats of Kangaroo Island. The 65 year old man traps the cats, skins them, and tans their hides. According to his jdog eared notebook he has killed 1394 cats including a 16 pound monster he trapped last year.
“It averages out to about two a week but I don’t trap as much as I used to – I can’t afford to travel and you’ve got to check the traps every day” (90km round trip).
To help pay for petrol and cat food (which he uses for bait) no cat goes to waste. He uses the hides to try and fund his crusades. He sells pelts along with other accessories which include stubby holders (beer cozies), bookmarks, caps, fridge magnets, and even a toilet paper holder. He also made a suit for himself that is not for sale.
If you go to his house called “Feral End” you are in for quite the treat. He has decorated the house himself. On a wall is an artwork called “Curiosity”. It got the cat — get it? Kitty printed curtains open to reveal a meter wide panel of cat heads with native bird feathers stuffed in their mouths.
“Its art,” says Barry, “I give all my cats another life — I hate to waste a skin and they are much appreciated.”
He has received a lot of hate mail for his work but that is not going to stop him. Right now he say he is looking for someone to carry on his work. ‘I’m looking to take on an apprentice but they need to know it’s a tough and messy job and not for everyone.”
Barry Green is not listed in the phone book and you can’t find him on the internet. “I don’t have a sign up saying I’m open for business,” says Barry.
“I’m not seeking any publicity but the newspapers and TV people keep tracking me down, and the tourists, too. They come into town and ask the locals where I live.
As unwanted as the notoriety and fame are for the 65-year-old, Barry says he’s proud of his work, describing himself as a “hands-on environmentalist”.
“I just want to get rid of the cats. They don’t belong here,” Barry says.
“They are an introduced species and I’ve done my bit to remove them.
“I don’t hate cats, I like them, but the feral ones are a pest, killing birds and wildlife.”
The biggest cat he has caught weighed 7.2kg and in the 20 years he has been trapping, he has caught only one with a collar — which he handed over to the local council.
“I know I’ve got a feral and not a domestic in the trap before I see it. They don’t miaow but hiss, snarl and scratch,” he says.
“I’ve only been bitten once and even though I disinfected it straight away my finger swelled up.”
Every so often he helps scientists with research, providing his trapping data to the department and even collecting feline fleas for a Sydney University study.
Keep up the good work Barry.