SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping in to protect the endangered birds that call the Mission Bay area home.
Many endangered birds live throughout the area, but event those that stay behind a fenced-off wildlife preserve on the north end of Mission Bay aren't fully protected.
The Department of Agriculture wants to lay traps around the bay that would catch skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats and cats. The call for action comes as a handful of predators are getting to the California Least Tern and the Light Footed Ridgway's Rails.
"I think protecting an endangered species is important," said San Diegan Alysia Carrasco. "I don't know if we should harm another species to do so."
But harm would come to some of those animals, which the project workers would shoot offsite. Domestic cats would be transferred to the county animal shelter.
Brandon Ward, who uses binoculars to watch the birds in the preserve near Crown Point, said he is alright with euthanizing some of the animals like raccoons to save the birds. He said raccoons are often a nuisance and not endangered.
Ward is concerned about cats, as he has two and lives nearby.
"I'd be devastated until I found it, and then I'd probably be a little embarrassed that my cat had been out here," he said.
The project could start as early as February.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services said euthanizing animals is often the only option since there are territorial issues and no other place for them to go.