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

Friday, 18 October 2013

Introduction and spread of cats in Australia

Abbott, I. (2002). Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion of the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna.Wildlife Research, 29(1), 51-74.

A comprehensive search of historical sources found no evidence that the cat, Felis catus, was present on mainland Australia prior to settlement by Europeans. Nor were records of cats found in journals of expeditions of exploration beyond settled areas, undertaken in the period 1788–1883. Cats did not occupy Australia from the earliest point of entry (Sydney, 1788), but instead diffused and were spread from multiple coastal introductions in the period 1824–86. By 1890 nearly all of the continent had been colonised. This new chronology for the feline colonisation of Australia necessitates a re-appraisal of the early impact of the cat on native mammal and bird species. The evidence for early impacts of cats causing major and widespread declines in native fauna is considered tenuous and unconvincing.

Abbott, I. (2008). The spread of the cat, Felis catus, in Australia: re-examination of the current conceptual model with additional information.Conservation Science Western Australia, 7(1), 1-17.

This paper is an update of Abbott, I (2002) Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion of the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna. Wildlife Research 29, 51–74. An additional 33 journals of expeditions of exploration or excursions beyond settled areas before 1895 were located, and as expected from the current conceptual model, none of these recorded cats. These accounts of travel through country as yet unsettled or sparsely settled by Europeans necessitate only one small modification (relating to north-east Queensland) to the conceptual model presented previously. In addition, nearly 150 new records of cats were located in other parts of Australia, and all are consistent with the chronology of spread hypothesized in the previous paper. For Tasmania, following their introduction in 1804, cats were first recorded there as feral in the 1840s. Incidental records were found indicating that in parts of Australia the spread of the cat was assisted by their release in regions experiencing their first outbreaks of rabbits, by flood-linked irruptions of the long-haired rat (Rattus villosissimus), and by their release to control rodents destroying sugar cane plantations in northern Queensland. Feral cats of large size were first detected in various regions of Australia some 10–30 years after local settlement.

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