Feral cats (Felis catus) are widespread across Australia and New Zealand, occupying most habitats. They are a significant predator of mammals, birds and reptiles (Doherty et al 2015) and are identified as a major threat to endangered fauna, particularly on islands (Medina et al. 2011). Consequently predation by feral cats has been listed as a key threatening process in Australia under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). However, feral cat management and legislation is highly variable across Australia, and investment in research to seek longer term solutions has been ad hoc with limited national coordination. This workshop was held to address these issues, and to guide national strategies and actions under the Threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats.
These proceedings outline high impact research and innovation priorities and national actions for feral cats within five key areas: impacts, monitoring, control tools, management strategies and community engagement. A collection of papers is also provided that outline the strategic direction and review the most current research and innovation initiatives for feral cats and their management in Australia.
The workshop and review identified significant gaps in knowledge that must be addressed to effectively manage feral cats in Australia. Better information on impacts is required, in particular, on how impacts vary between prey species and across the landscape. We also require improved monitoring tools and use of technology, including the improved collection, automation and analysis of large data sets for predators and prey. Further development of traps and baiting tools is recommended, including, grooming traps, implants, lethal collars and kill traps; and standard operating procedures and support tools to ensure the animal welfare and effective adoption of these methods. Management should focus on eradication of feral cats on priority islands and fenced reserves, and on understanding the influence and role of predators, baiting, fire, grazing and rabbits on widespread feral cat populations. A national engagement strategy and facilitator, knowledge sharing, alternative funding models and improved ways to engage with communities are also identified as priorities.
It is hoped that these proceedings will assist key groups, particularly the Commonwealth and State governments and Ministers, the Threatened Species Commissioner, the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, universities and conservation and community groups to prioritise funding and resources to reduce the impacts of cats. Outcomes will also be used in the preparation of an updated Threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats, and a national Threatened Species Strategy.
|Secondary title||2015 National Feral Cat Management Workshop|
|Author||J Tracey, C Lane, P Fleming, C Dickman, J Quinn, T Buckmaster & S McMahon (Eds)|
|Place published||University of Canberra|
|Institution||Invasive Animals CRC|
|Department||Australian Government, Department of the Environment|
|Region||Australia - national|
|ISBN/ISSN||Web ISBN: 978-0-9943800-0-5|
Feral cat home page: www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-animal-species/feral-cat/
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