The island is home to 150 free-ranging cats, which is about one cat for every five people. While the feral felines can help control the numbers of rats, mice, and other animals considered pests, they can also prey on other local wildlife—including, most controversially, birds.
A 2013 study, for instance, estimated that free-ranging cats are responsible for killing billions of birds and mammals in the continental U.S. every year, including possibly up to 3.7 billion birds. The study sparked major debate among both bird and cat groups. The American Bird Conservancy has said "the carnage that outdoor cats inflict is staggering."
Since Jekyll Island is a popular stopover for many migrating tropical birds, wildlife biologist Sonia Hernandez