Tag Archives: island

Impacts and management of feral cats Felis catus in Australia

Authors: Tim S Doherty, Chris R Dickman, Chris N Johnson, Sarah M Legge, Euan G Ritchie and John CZ Woinarski

Published in: Mammal Review (early view)

Abstract

Feral cats are among the most damaging invasive species worldwide, and are implicated in many extinctions, especially in Australia, New Zealand and other islands. Understanding and reducing their impacts is a global conservation priority.

We review knowledge about the impacts and management of feral cats in Australia, and identify priorities for research and management.

In Australia, the most well understood and significant impact of feral cats is predation on threatened mammals. Other impacts include predation on other vertebrates, resource competition, and disease transmission, but knowledge of these impacts remains limited.

Lethal control is the most common form of management, particularly via specifically designed poison baits. Non-lethal techniques include the management of fire, grazing, food, and trophic cascades. Managing interactions between these processes is key to success.

Given limitations on the efficacy of feral cat management, conservation of threatened mammals has required the establishment of insurance populations on predator-free islands and in fenced mainland enclosures.

Research and management priorities are to: prevent feral cats from driving threatened species to extinction; assess the efficacy of new management tools; trial options for control via ecosystem management; and increase the potential for native fauna to coexist with feral cats.

Doherty TS, Dickman CR, Johnson CN, Legge SM, Ritchie EG, Woinarski JCZ (2016) Impacts and management of feral cats Felis catus in Australia. Mammal Review PDF DOI

Stop jumping the gun: A call for evidence-based invasive predator management

Authors: Tim S Doherty and Euan G Ritchie

Published in: Conservation Letters (early access)

Abstract

Invasive mammalian predators are major drivers of species extinctions globally.

To protect native prey, lethal control is often used with the aim of reducing or exterminating invasive predator populations. The efficacy of this practice however is often not considered despite multiple practical and ecological factors that can limit success.

Here, we summarise contemporary knowledge regarding the use and challenges of lethal control and alternative approaches for reducing invasive predator impacts.

As the prevailing management approach, we outline four key issues that can compromise the effectiveness of lethal control: release of herbivore and mesopredator populations; disruption of predator social systems; compensatory predator immigration; and ethical concerns.

We then discuss the relative merits and limitations of four alternative approaches that may enhance conservation practitioner’s ability to effectively manage invasive predators: top-predator conservation or reintroduction; maintaining habitat complexity; exclusion fencing; and behavioural and evolutionary ecology.

Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the effectiveness of management approaches in different environmental contexts.

We propose that the deficiencies and uncertainties outlined here can be addressed through a combination of adaptive management, expert elicitation, and cost-benefit analyses.

Improved management of invasive predators requires greater consideration and assessment of the full range of management approaches available.

Doherty TS, Ritchie EG (2016) Stop jumping the gun: A call for evidence-based invasive predator management. Conservation Letters PDF DOI