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

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Population dynamics of feral cats in relation to prey abundance

Harper, G. A. (2005). Numerical and functional response of feral cats (Felis catus) to variations in abundance of primary prey on Stewart Island (Rakiura), New Zealand. Wildlife Research, 32(7), 597-604.

Few studies of populations of feral cats have simultaneously monitored the seasonal abundance of primary prey and the possible ‘prey-switch’ to alternative prey when primary prey abundance declines. On Stewart Island, when the abundance of feral cats’ primary prey, rats (Rattus spp.), was very low, significantly more cats died or left the study area than when rats were abundant. Cats preferentially preyed on rats regardless of rat abundance. Birds were the main alternative prey but cats did not prey-switch to birds when rat abundance was low, possibly owing to the difficulty of capture, and small mass, of birds compared with rats. On Stewart Island numbers of feral cats are restricted by seasonal depressions in abundance of their primary prey, coupled with limited alternative prey biomass.

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