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

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Progress in eradicating cats on Christmas Is

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.

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