Island feral cat eradication specialists visit KI

Feral cat control practitioners and specialists from ten Australian islands will visit KI in late June for a three day workshop facilitated by the Natural Resources Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Project team.

The workshop will be a significant event for the region and will substantially elevate the profile of the KI feral cat eradication initiative nationally.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island’s (NRKI’s) Manager Science and Program Planning, Martine Kinloch said that the workshop has attracted keen interest from practitioners around the country and as far afield as New Zealand and the US, with expert speakers presenting on topics such as detector dogs, animal ethics, toxins and community engagement.

Eradication project staff from 10 islands will share their experiences in controlling feral cats, providing an opportunity for all participants to learn from others’ successes and brainstorm solutions to the common challenges faced.

Kangaroo Island is set to become one of the world's largest inhabited islands free of feral cats under a community-driven, NRKI supported, Australian Government plan to make the island a safe haven for wildlife.

Kangaroo Island joins Bruny Island, French Island, Christmas Island and Dirk Hartog Island on the Australian Government's list of five priority islands (announced June 2016) aiming to become feral cat free under the Threatened Species Strategy. 

Ms Kinloch said that the long-term outcome of the workshop will be to establish a community of practice to encourage the on-going transfer of technical knowledge and emerging best practice, and to act as a peer support network.

Workshop delegate, ecologist Dr Rachel Paltridge from Desert Wildlife Services, said that the li-Anthawirriyarra sea rangers from Borroloola who have been controlling feral cats for a number of years, look forward to learning new skills in detector dog use among other things. 

“The sea rangers hope to take home new ideas and skills for detecting the small number of trap-shy feral cats remaining on the Northern Territory group of islands known as the Pellews.”

Workshop attendees will also spend time out on the Dudley Peninsula isthmus to learn about the Kangaroo Island feral cat eradication project, where they will hear about our radio tracking, trapping, baiting and other activities.

 The workshop is supported by NRKI and is an initiative of the Threatened Species Commissioner funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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