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, 8 August 2014

Chapter 1: Impact on local biodiversity

Koch, K., Algar, D., Onus, M., Hamilton, N., Streit, B., & Schwenk, K. (2014). Impact of invasive feral cats and foxes on local biodiversity in the southern rangelands of Western Australia. Genetic diversity and phylogeography of Australian feral cats, 24.

One of the main threats to the survival of native vertebrate species in Australia is predation by introduced carnivores such as feral cats and foxes. Long-term invasive predator control projects aim to decrease their density in strategic areas on the mainland and thereby reduce pressure on local fauna. We examined fauna survey data in comparison to the diet of cats and foxes in order to determine the impact on native vertebrate species. Altered environmental conditions in 2007 (drought, shifted rainfall period) had a major effect on native species abundance, yet total number of species did not change between years and still showed differences between the study sites. Significant differences in abundance of native species groups between study sites as well as differences in the total number of species indicated a major predatory impact by invasive predators on local fauna. Feral cats and foxes had a distinctive diet and showed a prey selection as well as prey switch toward native vertebrate species thereby underutilizing the introduced and most abundant alternate species (house mouse). Feral cats especially specialised on native bird species which comprised up to 31% of their diet. Overall, our data confirm a higher predation risk for native species compared to non-native mammal species by introduced predators and the tendency of threat reduction by predator control over the short period of two years.

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