Feral cats have contributed to the disappearance of many ground dwelling birds and mammals in the arid zone and continue to threaten the success of recovery programs for endangered species. It’s therefore a service to the native animals of the region to trap any feral cats you find roaming your property. Land for Wildlife loan out cat traps to members and can provide you with the information and advice needed to get you on your way to become a successful trapper.
Are you already trapping cats? Land for Wildlife would like to hear from you. We are in the process of gathering information on trapping success by Land for Wildlife members on their property. This information will be used to help the Alice Springs Town Council’s Environment Advisory Committee to assess the effectiveness of various trapping programs in the region.
We can determine trapping success by taking the ratio of the number of cats trapped to the number of trapping nights (successful and unsuccessful). If you are trapping feral cats on your property and are able to provide us with this information, we would appreciate it! Email us at email@example.com with the two figures plus the suburb you are trapping in and we can collate the data from our members.
Batchelor Institute Alice Springs camera trapping session in November 2016 shows a cat going into a trap for a feed and a couple of inquisitive crows.
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) seen feeding on some kill at the Alice Springs wastewater treatment ponds.
Land for Wildlife has been involved in helping out the Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) Green Army team at Olive Pink Botanic Garden (OPBG), a historic, well-established and active member of the Land for Wildlife program. The Green Army program focused on ecological works such as garden bed rejuvenation, Buffel Grass removal and feral animal management to support Black-footed Rock Wallaby habitat conservation. This was their last week in the program and Land for Wildlife was happy to see how far the team have come!
Land for Wildlife provided training and support for the six months of Feral Cat and Spotted Turtle-dove trapping (see blogs on the workshop and trapping successes. During their 20-week trapping program, they captured a total of six Cats (Felis catus) and 15 Spotted Turtle-Doves (Streptopelia chinensis). They also accidentally caught 3 Black-footed Rock Wallabies (Petrogale lateralis) in the cat trap… or one particular individual that had a taste for sardines (see the blogs for wallabies and doves caught in the cat trap).
Well done Green Army – great work on the feral animal trapping and Buffel-bashing. Good luck and all the best on your next adventure!
Researchers and Rangers from around Australia descended on Alice Springs last week for the Australian Mammal Society’s annual conference, which included a symposium dedicated to feral cat research and management. It was great to hear about the actions being taken by dedicated individuals around Australia. Gregory Andrews, the Threatened Species Commissioner, spoke to the symposium attendees about the impact that feral cats are having on Australia’s wildlife and the need to control the feral cat population, stating “It’s not about demonising feral cats; it’s about loving our native wildlife enough to save it”. Shortly after, Brett Murphy outlined some staggering statistics about feral cat numbers in Australia – his team have used population density estimates and aridity patterns to extrapolate to 2.7 million feral cats across Australia!
With the spring weather warming up, the reptiles become more active and this means there is plenty of food available for feral cats. As a result, feral cats are also active and so it’s time to get trapping. The Alice Springs Town Council have been busy catching cats over the last few weeks and suggest that Land for Wildlife members consider joining in.
Land for Wildlife (Ph 8955 5222) has plenty of cat traps available for loan and can provide information and advice regarding trapping of feral kitties on your block. Already have a trap? Download the Cat Trapping information from the Land for Wildlife fact sheets page. The ASTC Rangers can assist you by collecting any cats caught (contact the ASTC: Ph 8950 0500) and delivering them to the Alice Springs Animal Shelter.
Thanks to the Green Army team at Land for Wildlife property Olive Pink Botanic Garden for sending in this photo of their recent catch – a Spotted Turtle-dove (Spilopelia chinensis). The unsuspecting wanderer ended up in a cat trap baited with sardines, while ignoring the nearby Spotted Turtle-dove trap set with seed (though didn’t partake in the dining experience). That’s right, caught in a cat trap. One must wonder…
Land for Wildlife provided the Olive Pink Botanic Garden (OPBG) Green Army team with trapping assistance via a training workshop earlier this month (Read the workshop blog here). The team have been trialling a few trap locations within OPBG, with unexpected results.
They have had four occurrences of by-catch of Black-footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale lateralis), who were looking for a free feed of sardines. The wallabies highlight the need for feral cat trapping as a method of protecting our native fauna. It also raises the question: What won’t wallabies eat?! The wallabies were released and the Green Army team have since moved their traps to new locations.
The team have since had their first success with a Cat (Felis catus) capture. The cat was taken to the Alice Springs Animal Shelter to determine whether it is a roaming domestic cat or a feral cat. Contact the Alice Springs Animal Shelter (Ph 08 8953 4430) if your tabby has gone missing. For more information on feral cats, view the Feral Cat factsheet. To learn about domestic cats roaming out and about, download our brochure Where Is Your Cat Now?
Feral cats have contributed to the disappearance of many ground dwelling birds and mammals in the arid zone and continue to threaten the success of recovery programs for endangered species. As a result, they are listed as a key threatening process under the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999.
Trapping for cats may be more successful in the cooler months due to the reduced food supply in the landscape (i.e. reptiles) during this time. Now that the air is developing more of a chill, it’s a great time to start thinking about trapping feral cats on your property.
Here are some tips for trapping feral cats:
- Trap on your own property. If trapping elsewhere you must obtain written permission from the property owner.
- Use fresh bait (chicken, raw meat or liver, smelly tinned fish).
- Set traps in the evening and check early morning to avoid accidental by-catch of native wildlife during the day.
- A cage trap placed in amongst vegetation (so that the opening is the only point available to be investigated) is likely to be more effective than placing it in open areas.
- A trap may be fitted with shade cloth to prevent captured animals from stress during the warm months and to create curiosity for cats to enter at the entrance.
- It is also thought that cats are less likely to walk on the cage floor, due to the texture of the mesh, so try covering with soil, sand, or vegetation.
Traps are available from the Alice Springs Town Council (Ph 08 8950 0500). Any captured cats can be taken to the Alice Springs Animal Shelter (Ph 08 8953 4430).
Feral cat caught in Connellan last week (J. Kreusser)