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 February 2014

A pilot study for the eradication of cats on Dirk Hartog Island

Algar, D., Johnston, M., & Hilmer, S. S. (2011). A pilot study for the proposed eradication of feral cats on Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia. Island invasives: eradication and management, 10-16.

Feral cat eradication is planned for Dirk Hartog Island (620 km2), which is the largest island off the Western Australian coast. The island, in the Shark Bay World Heritage Property, once supported at least 13 species of native mammals but only three species remain. Since the 1860s, Dirk Hartog Island has been managed as a pastoral lease grazed by sheep and goats. Cats were probably introduced by early pastoralists and became feral during the late 19th century. Dirk Hartog Island was established as a National Park in November 2009, which provides the opportunity to eradicate feral cats and reconstruct the native mammal fauna. A 250 km2 pilot study was conducted on the island to assess the efficacy of aerial baiting as the primary technique for the eradication campaign. Initially, cats were trapped and fitted with GPS data-logger radio-collars. The collars were to provide information on daily activity patterns, to determine detection probabilities, and to optimise the proposed spacing of aerial baiting transects and the monitoring track network for the eradication. Baiting efficiency was determined from the percentage of radio-collared cats found dead following the distribution of baits. Fifteen cats were fitted with radio-collars and 12 (80%) of the cats consumed a toxic bait. Pre- and post-baiting surveys of cat activity were also conducted to record indices of activity at sand plots and along continuous track transects. Significant reductions in these indices after baiting coincided with declines of the same magnitude as radio-collar returns. Information collected in this pilot study should help to improve kill rates and has increased confidence that eradication can be successfully achieved.

See more on Dirk Hartog Island feral cat eradication proposal

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