Feral cats are being trapped and fitted with GPS collars so researchers can understand more about this pest predator.
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) Manager Planning and Adaptive Management Martine Kinloch said 18 adult cats have been captured within the study area, ranging in age from three months to about four years.
“Ten of the cats are female and of breeding age, two of which are pregnant with their second litter since monitoring commenced in November 2016,” Ms Kinloch said.
“The NRKI Feral Cat Eradication Project Team have collared four kittens to monitor juvenile survival and movement,” Ms Kinloch said. All the feral cats have GPS collars that provide researchers with a minimum of seven GPS fixes every 24 hours.
“GPS locations provide home range and habitat use data as well as shelter and den site locations.”
“Camera trapping throughout the study area will complement the GPS data being collected and provides an estimate of the number of feral cats in the area.
“You can see from the satellite tracking map that the feral cats’ home ranges are well defined, with a small degree of overlap among individuals.”
KI aims to eradicate feral cats, reducing the impact of livestock diseases to the valuable sheep industry, creating a safe haven for wildlife, and a place to reintroduce endangered species.”
If successful, the community-driven Commonwealth and State government plan would make KI one of the world’s largest inhabited islands to be free of feral cats.
This project is a joint initiative of NRKI and Kangaroo Island Council, in collaboration with Primary Industries and Regions South Australia and other relevant institutions.
The RSPCA have a representative on the project steering committee and provide advice to ensure the ethical and humane management of feral cats during the delivery of the project
Visit the NRKI website and follow the link to the KI feral cat eradication project page: naturalresources.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland/home.