Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Predation of cats on Mediterranean shearwater

BONNAUD, E., G. BERGER, K. BOURGEOIS, J. LEGRAND & E. VIDAL. 2012. Predation by cats could lead to the extinction of the Mediterranean endemic Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan at a major breeding site. Ibis, 154, 566–577

Feral cats are considered to be one of the main harmful invasive species for island species. Adult shearwaters are highly vulnerable to predation by cats. The population of the Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan, a species endemic to the Mediterranean, is predicted to decline, leaving only a few large breeding colonies, due to the invasion of cats. The impact of cats on the Shearwater population of Le Levant Island, one of the major breeding sites for this species, was evaluated by studying cat diet over a 2-year period. The predation rate obtained was then included in a Shearwater demographic model. Cats preyed upon rabbits, rats and Shearwaters, with a peak of predation on Shearwaters immediately upon their arrival at the colony. Cat predation was heavy and responsible for the yearly death of about 810–3241 birds. This could lead to the extinction of the Le Levant colony within the next four decades and perhaps within just a few years. Cat predation on prospecting individuals, a parameter essential to assess the real impact of predation, may not have an immediate effect on the Shearwater breeding population but can accelerate population extinction. Cat predation must be reduced or removed to prevent the extinction of one of the most important breeding sites for this species.

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