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Set up "vulture Cam" in the Houston area? Answered

There is a person in Houston who has been taking care of a feral cat colony, feeding them and such, and has run into a problem. The cats have been in the area of a dumpster which apparently is attracting Vultures (not the lawyer kind)  and they are eating all the food for the cats along with the stuff the store throws out. Of course my initial reaction was to think "maybe they should move the bodies somewhere else." But the real problem appears to be the unsanitary conditions created by the store.  I thought of drawing attention to the problem by having someone put up a live stream web cam. The person taking care of the cats has neither the money nor the technical ability to do such a thing. So the question is, is there an enterprising person (young or otherwise) in the Houston TX area  who could figure out a way to set up a web cam, "Vulture Cam" to record the activity and maybe get some attention paid to the problem. Or better figure out a cool way to fix the problem.  There are a number of current contests running that such a project would qualify for as entries. So essentially this is a instructables project in search of a maker.  If you are interested I can put you in contact with the person looking for help.
Thanks all.

8 Replies

thematthatter (author)2017-07-27

Close the lid to the dumpster. It will keep the cats and birds out.

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Jack A Lopez (author)2017-07-25

This is confusing.

I am guessing the person feeding the cats, prefers cats to vultures.

But is that universally true?

I mean, I get the idea that you want to bring shame to whoever it is that is leaving food for the vultures.

Yet, is not the person who is leaving food for the cats kind of doing the same thing?

Is the cat feeding person not going to be shamed by the community, if people find out he, or she, is growing a population of feral cats?

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Vyger (author)Jack A Lopez2017-07-25

Well, there is a warm fuzzy factor that enters into things. Can't really imagine someone sitting with a buzzard on their lap. They tend to pick at things. "Is that dead yet, can I have that? If your not using it I mean. How about just a taste? I really like your smell. You must be pretty old, getting just ripe. Anytime now huh?"

Some people think that deer are really cute and that seeing a deer and it's fawn in the forest is a very peaceful thing. They have never had them devour their garden and destroy their flowers for a snack. They also have not had one total their car and cause $20,000 in damages. Cute has limits.

There has been a lot of new research done about feral cats. As a result there has developed two different dramatically opposed theories.

PETA is of the opinion that most cats should be killed. Both feral and pets. They consider pets to be enslaved and that they should be removed from the owners and killed. They have even stolen cats and dogs from people's yards and had them killed.

The other theory is that the cats play an important role in the balance between predator and pest and research has shown that when kept in control they are an asset to the area they live in. This has started what is called a TNR management. The cats are trapped, neutered and returned with things like rabies shots done along with neutering so the colony does not overpopulate and stays healthy and does not transmit contagions.

A group up in Canada has done a lot of research into this. They have also been expanding the boundaries of Veterinary treatments because of being willing to spend large amounts for the care of feral animals that normally would have just been euthanized.. They spent over $10,000 in vet bills for just one cat. They are literally rewriting some of the ideas and standards of Vet cat care. Here is a video they have put out about PETA

Not really to confusing when you do a little research into it.

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Jack A Lopez (author)Vyger2017-07-25

No doubt about it, cats are more cute than vultures.

What I was trying to say, is that if you, or your friend, wants to go on a moral crusade, it helps to have some moral high ground.

I mean if you are going to point a finger at someone, and declare, "Look! That person is doing something irresponsible!", it helps if you yourself are not doing something similar.

But, yeah, you explained it to me:

Leaving dry catfood for cats is an act of compassion, and cats are beneficial predators.

Leaving carrion for vultures is just nasty, and vultures are nasty too.

I cannot help but wonder about this place you call a "store", and the kind of things this store is throwing away.

In my experience dumpster diving, the nastiest dumpsters out there are restaurant dumpsters, because they get filled with uneaten food.

I am guessing the "store" you allude to is a restaurant. Or maybe it is a store that sells meat, a meat monger, or a "carnicería", or "delicatessen", some similar foreign word euphemism.

Or maybe it's a pet store that has trouble keeping the live ones in stock, or... maybe it is I know not what.

It must be pretty grizzly scene to attract vultures.

You should ask your friend to go in for a closer look, for to discover what these peoples are throwing away.

Or maybe that's your point. You want some sort of automated way of peeking into the neighbor's garbage. Maybe.

To me, just learning what is going on, at least at first, this seems more prudent than pointing fingers and saying, "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Seems like there were some 'ibles here with peoples building internet-connected, surveillance devices with those Raspberry Pi(r) single board computers.


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Vyger (author)Vyger2017-07-25

By the way, if you watch this video on youtube there is an explanatory text along with some comments.

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Downunder35m (author)2017-07-24

I would simply say:
If there are health or sanitary problems the best way is to take some pics, hand them in to the council and demand for a call back on the progress of the investigation.
In case that does not help local newspapers and TV stations are always looking for some filthy story to push up.

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Vyger (author)Downunder35m2017-07-24

Yes, that was my first thinking also. I mentioned that the dumpster likely belonged to the store or was leased by the store and on the store property and so was their responsibility. I suggested that they go and talk to the store manager. But the persons main concern is not the mess with the dumpster but the feral cat colony that lives in the area. The cats are attracted by the garbage somewhat but they are even more attracted to the mice and rats that eat the garbage. Given the choice almost any cat would prefer a live kill over week old garbage. So the cats are actually doing a valuable service by keeping rodent populations down. But there is a good chance that if the manager decided to do anything about cleaning up it would include killing all the cats too. People often don't think things through. And the black death was a long time ago so that lesson is pretty much lost on them.

Anyway, what would be ideal is a way to figure out how to feed the cats that is protected from the vultures. Giving the cats supplemental food makes them healthier and less likely to go for garbage and more likely to go after vermin. So they need an inventive person to help figure out a way to do this.

When I got the trailer that I was going to convert to a shop it had a stray cat living in it. It had cleaned up most of the mice. I brought it food to encourage it to stay and finish the job. When we started tearing things out like the carpets the cat left which was to bad because I would have been fine with it comming with the trailer.

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Pat White (author)2017-07-24

I'm in Canada but that Ible should be good for several contests.

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