Aug 9, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Burrowing owls on the course in preparation for the golf competition in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Gold Course.

Burrowing owl (Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Feral Cats Near Google Threaten Burrowing Owl Population

Matt Bigler
May 30, 2018 - 11:01 am

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS Radio) - Google is under fire from environmentalists for supporting a colony of feral cats on it's Mountain View campus. As KCBS Radio's Matt Bigler reports the cats are threatening a nearby burrowing owl population.

A few years ago there were nearly two dozen burrowing owls right across the street from the Google campus. But today it's hard to find a single owl and environmentalists think they know why.

"These non-native animals, these cats, that we love as pets...are also killers." Environmental activist Eileen McLaughlin is referring to a colony of feral cats that lives in and around the Google campus. Cat loving Googlers have set up for feline feeding stations. Easy she says to stalk and prey on burrowing owls.

Conservationists note that development is mostly to blame for the decline in the owl population, but having cats nearby doesn't help.

Shani Kleinhaus with the Silicon Valley Audubon Society tells KPIX 5 she hopes that Google will do the right thing and remove the feeding stations.

"I think there are solutions," said Kleinhaus. "It needs work, but I think Google will be willing to work with conservationists to come to a good resolution."

Google says it is studying the issue and will make a decision in the near future.