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, 28 April 2013

Feral cat impact on seabirds populations on Natividad Island

Keitt, B. S., C. Wilcox, B. R. Tershy, D. A. Croll & C. J. Donlan. 2002. The effect of feral cats on the population viability of black-vented shearwaters (Puffinus opisthomelas) on Natividad Island, Mexico. Animal Conservation, 5: 217–223


Insular breeding seabirds are likely to be particularly vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators because they often lack behavioural, morphological and life-history defenses against predation. We studied the life-history of the black-vented shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas) on Natividad Island, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to examine its vulnerability to introduced feral cats. Using an allometric equation, we estimated that feral cats consumed 328 g of food / day to satisfy their nutritional requirements. We used stable isotope analysis of cat scat to estimate that 90% of the cats’ diet was composed of shearwaters. Using data from our focal species and from the closely related manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), we created a demographic model to evaluate the effects of cat population size on the annual growth rate (λ) of the shearwater. The annual growth rate for black-vented shearwaters was estimated to be 1.006 in the absence of cat predation. With predation, we estimated that annual growth rate declined approximately 5% for every 20 cats in a population of 150,000 birds. Persistence times of bird colonies decreased both with an increase in the size of the feral cat population and with a decrease in the size of the initial bird population.

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