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Nisyros uproar at stray cats cull

- by Helen Davies

Nisyros uproar at stray cats cull.

The mass poisoning of stray cats and other animals on the tiny island of Nisyros has sparked outrage among some of the locals. Poisoned fish has been left in exposed places in a bid to rid the island of stray cats that plague tavernas and hotels.

But the poison killing has led to protesters calling on the municipality of Nisyros to ban the practice and to prosecute those responsible.

They claim the poisoning is a blight on the good name of the island, especially among tourists, and the indoctrinate use of poison harms other animals besides strays.

A report on the organized mass poisoning of strays on the nearby popular holiday islands of Kos and Rhodes last year failed to prompt an investigation by the local authorities.

Dead cats have been found in neighbourhoods of the main Nisyros island port of Mandraki after poisoned fish was put out for them to eat.

Many Greeks agree the strays are a nuisance and don't understand the sympathy that foreign tourists, especially from the UK, have for the animals.

Stray animals will often hang around taverna kitchens and 'patrol' taverna tables in the hope of landing a tasty morsel.

Greek island tourists often find them cute, if half starving, and will occasionally feed them scraps or even put food outside their holiday apartments.

But many Greek hotel and taverna owners regard them as vermin and are alarmed at the rise in numbers each year.

During the winter months, when the tourists are long gone, many will embark on a cull of strays, both cats and dogs, in a bid to keep the numbers down.

So they help control the stray population without offending those tourists who might be offended at the killing. It remains to be seen if authorities on Nisyros take any action.

Nisyros is a small Greek volcanic island located in the Aegean Sea and part of the Dodecanese group. It lies between the islands of Kos and Tilos and is a popular day trip destination as well as a tourist island in its own right.

Mandraki is the capital and the main port of Nisyros. The picturesque white cube houses tumble down the hill below the imposing Monastery of the Panagia Spiliani and the Castle of Spiliani, built by the Crusaders.

At the centre of Nisyros is a semi-active caldera formed by a volcanic eruption – the largest of three volcano craters on the island. The last significant eruption was in the 1880s.

A path leads down into the crater where tourists can see sulphur fumaroles streaming out pungent gases.