Cat trapping to protect endangered birds

Kangaroo Island community members have been working with the Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) team to protect our island’s endangered shorebirds from feral cats through the reporting and subsequent removal of feral cats from the Penneshaw beach.

Local resident Rex Page said that he observed a young feral cat (tabby) harassing and preying upon the greater crested tern and black faced cormorant colonies nesting on the Penneshaw breakwater adjacent to the Sealink terminal a couple of weeks ago.

“I was running a Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari tour with a full boat of tourists who were upset to see the feral cat stalking shorebirds during broad daylight,” Mr Page said.

“I contacted the NRKI office as I was concerned about the welfare and possible survival of the shorebirds and for the poor image this creates for Kangaroo Island.”

Martine Kinloch, NRKI Manager Science and Program Planning, said that feral cat traps were deployed shortly after Mr Page’s report and two feral cats were trapped on the first night.

“The traps were left out for a further two nights but no further cats were trapped,” Ms Kinloch said.

“A post mortem and stomach content analysis has confirmed the presence of bird feathers, this strengthens the need to control feral cats and for owners to contain domestic cats within their properties.

Ms Kinloch said that she encouraged community members to undertake feral cat trapping in their local area, and NRKI can assist with the hire of traps and management of trapped cats.

“Our team has also confirmed that there are three hooded plovers chicks that have fledged along Penneshaw beach.

“Locals and visitors will notice the ‘caution ahead’ signage in place, and we remind them to keep dogs on a leash when walking KI beaches this breeding season to further protect endangered species.”

For further information about hiring a cat trap and the KI feral cat eradication initiative, visit the NRKI website http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland/plants-and-animals/pest-animals/Kangaroo-Island-feral-cat-eradication-initiative.

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