Algar, D., Hamilton, N., & Pink, C. (2014). Progress in eradicating cats (Felis catus) on Christmas Island to conserve biodiversity. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Supplement No. 30: 45–53
The impact of cats (Felis catus) on the biodiversity of Christmas Island is of significant concern to land management agencies and the broader community. In 2010, a management plan for cats, and also black rats (Rattus rattus), was commissioned that would mitigate the environmental and social impacts of these alien invasives across the island. A strategy was recommended that provided a staged approach to their management and control leading to eradication of one or both target species. For cats, Stage 1 initially involved gaining approval of revisions to the current local cat management laws that prohibited importation of new cats; this was then followed by a veterinary programme to de-sex, micro-chip and register all domestic cats. Stage 2 required removal of all non-domestic (i.e., stray/feral) cats within the residential, commercial and light industrial zones. Without implementation of Stage 2, a significant source of cats, particularly natal recruits, would be available to disperse into or reinvade territories vacated across the island. Stage 2 was required before an island-wide control programme (Stage 3) could be implemented.
Stage 1 of the programme has been completed with 135 domestic cats currently registered. Stage 2 has led to the majority of stray/feral cats being destroyed within the residential, commercial and light industrial area. Two hundred and seventy-eight stray/feral cats were removed from this area since May 2011, primarily through cage-trapping. Two baiting programmes have been conducted around the periphery of the residential area with between 36–49 cats being removed in 2011 and a further 103–142 stray/feral cats poisoned during a more extensive programme in 2012. The combined trapping and baiting programmes have resulted in between 417–469 stray/feral cats being removed since the commencement of the plan. Continued funding is essential for a successful conclusion to the cat
eradication programme on the island.