Hundreds of feral cats removed from Kangaroo Island in bid to protect endangered native species

Hundreds of feral cats removed from Kangaroo Island in bid to protect endangered native species

Hundreds of feral cats have been removed from Kangaroo Island considering that the devastating 2020 fires. 

The pests have been placing enhanced pressure on endangered species since the blaze tore by way of the western close of the island.

Environmental organisations are employing point out-of-the-art technologies to target feral felines, and have so far taken out extra than 850 cats.

Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife fauna ecologist Pat Hodgens claimed one particular sort of lure they were deploying instantly sprayed a toxin on cats as they walked earlier. 

“[The Felixer trap] differentiates feral cats from native species centered on the shape, the size and also the speed and motion of feral cats,” he claimed. 

“Then a cat, remaining an obligate groomer, any time it will get nearly anything on it, basically has to groom that gel off its coat. 

The Felixer grooming traps are currently being established up all over the western aspect of Kangaroo Island.(Supplied: Pat Hodgens)

Mr Hodgens reported they had received a Landcare-led bushfire recovery grant to enhance the trap’s technology to consist of an AI (synthetic intelligence) sensor. 

“What we’re setting up to do is to increase the goal specificity of the Felixer to make them additional certain for feral cats,” he said. 

“That engineering can be used not only in this article on Kangaroo Island, not only on the western finish of the Island but throughout the island, and across the full nation.”

An app to verify traps 

Mr Hodgens reported they had found the specialised lure to be 5 times far more effective than a regular cage entice. 

Despite the trap’s good results, he said it was not a silver bullet and was being used in conjunction with other pest administration strategies. 

The Landscape Board and the Section of Environment and Drinking water are using a new automatic lure inform procedure. 

Working with a smartphone app, now 400 traps can be checked remotely working with a smartphone app saving time and assets.

A black and white, night vision photograph of a cat with a small, dead animal in its mouth. The cat looks caught out.
Fires left indigenous animals like the Kangaroo Island dunnart, a tiny, nocturnal marsupial, susceptible to predators.(Equipped: Pat Hodgens)

“[It] will mainly make checking the cage traps a large amount more efficient,” Mr Hodgens reported. 

“It can be a really superior example of different groups functioning together but also employing all the new systems that are readily available.

Cats stopped by electrical fence with floppy best

A further string in their feral cat management bow is an exclusion fence that has been erected all-around fire-impacted land that is recognised to dwelling endangered species like the Kangaroo Island dunnart and southern brown bandicoot. 

The fence is 1.8 metres tall with electric powered wires and footing to stop animals from digging underneath. It also has a floppy leading to stop the felines from receiving more than the fence if they do deal with to climb it.

A big wire fence runs next to bushland on sandy ground.
There is certainly a massive change in species diversity inside the feral cat exclusion fence compared to exterior.(Provided: Pat Hodgens)

The structure has been created on nearby James Doube’s house. 

He said it was important the feral cat populace was introduced less than control. 

“They are the principal vectors of a few of major disorders that affect sheep and devalue sheep generation throughout the island,” Mr Doube said. 

“Taking away them [feral cats] will also make a substantial change to the survival of a range of [species] especially the little mammals and birds.” 

He explained the fence was earning a large difference — and he had discovered much more animals inside the enclosure. 

Mr Hodgens claimed the figures backed up what Mr Doube was observing anecdotally.

“We observed that within the fence, we were being detecting nearly double the species diversity in the fence when compared to the outdoors,” he mentioned.