Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program

Aim

The aim of the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program is to eradicate feral cats from Kangaroo Island (KI) by 2030.  The program is being led by the KI Natural Resources Management Board (the Board) and the Kangaroo Island Council in collaboration with Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and partnering with Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre and Ecological Horizons.

The Board formally launched the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication 2015 -2030 Prospectus at the Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne in July 2015.

The program is funded by the Australian Government with in-kind support from the Department for Environment and Water and further contributions and support from Agriculture KI, PIRSA, Nature Foundation South Australia and other private philanthropic donors.

To find out more technical detail about the KI Feral Cat Eradication Program, please download the FAQ's here.

A simple survey has been developed by NRKI and the Kangaroo Island Council to capture the community’s views on the program and its aims. If you have not already completed the survey, please do so here KI community cat survey.

Why Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is nationally important for biodiversity conservation, primary production and tourism, with about 50% of the native vegetation remaining and being free from foxes and rabbits.

The Island is set to become one of the world's largest inhabited islands free of feral cats under the community supported Australian Government plan to ensure it remains a safe haven for wildlife. 

The Island provides a unique opportunity to control and eradicate feral cats across an entire environmental region given its:

• border security (being an island)

• supportive local government on domestic cat management

• community support for both domestic cat management and feral cat eradication

• long history of feral cat management and research on the island to inform control techniques

• absence of foxes, wild dogs and rabbits from the island

• support from key stakeholders who are collaborating with the project to ensure Kangaroo Island is feral cat free by 2030.

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. 

Feral cat impacts

Feral cats spread livestock diseases (sarcocystis and toxoplasmosis) that impact primary production and profitability, causing substantial economic cost to the Kangaroo Island sheep industry (approximately $2 million annually).

Feral cat predation is a major threat to the Island's valuable and endemic fauna, with up to 50 native animal species at risk including the:

• endangered southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus ssp. obesulus)

• endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart (Sminthopsis aitkeni)

• endangered Kangaroo Island echidna (Tachyglossus aculeates multiaculeatus)

• endangered southern emu wren (Stipiturus malachurus).

Please view the image gallery to learn more about the impacts of feral cats and follow these links ABC Landline and ABC.

Three stage initiative

Stage 1. 2015-2018

Trial feral cat control techniques, establish baseline monitoring programs and establish a process for gradual phasing out of all cat ownership.

This trail work on the Dudley Peninsula is now complete and a summary of the preliminary findings can be downloaded here. Once the results of the trials have been fully analysed and peer reviewed, the full report will be shared.

Some of the preliminary findings include: 

• a high rate of uptake of non-toxic baits by feral cats and a consistently low rate of uptake by non-target species

• cage trapping is successful for about 40% of feral cats at best

• Felixer grooming traps successfully identified feral cats as targets 72% of the time

• detection dogs were able to locate their targets over 90% of the time

• the density of feral cats on the Dudley Peninsula is 0.52 cats per km2 and their home ranges are larger than previously thought with an average of 6.3 km2 for males and 2.3 km2 for females.

Stage 2. 2018 - 2023

Eradicate feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula, monitor success of control actions and initiate a gradual phasing out of all cat ownership.

Stage 2 will shortly be commencing on the Dudley Peninsula under the 18-month Australian Government funded Flexer vs Felis project, to be conducted across public and private land on the Dudley Peninsula, utilising Felixer grooming traps in toxic mode with an initial target of up to 500 feral cats. 

NRKI staff will place and operate the grooming traps, working alongside landholders and volunteers who will be involved in data monitoring and analysis.

The KI NRM Board has applied for further funding for the Feral Cat Eradication Program from the Australian Government and, if successful, this will allow the full eradication program to be rolled out across the Dudley Peninsula over a five year period commencing late in 2018.

Stage 3. 2023 - 2030

Eradicate feral cats from Kangaroo Island, monitor the success of control and continue with the phasing out of all cat ownership.

Five Islands Workshop

A workshop for the five Australian islands prioritised for feral cat eradication under the Australian Government Threatened Species Strategy was conducted on Kangaroo Island in June 2017 to share learnings from current eradication programs. This included successes and challenges and helped build a network of practitioners for future collaboration and sharing of research. Delegates from an additional six islands (West Island, Tiwi Islands, Phillip Island, Lorde Howe Island, Rakiura/Stewart Island (NZ) and Groote Eylandt) currently undertaking feral animal control and/or research were also invited to attend. Several guest experts delivered presentations about animal welfare, island eradication concepts, the use of toxins, and community engagement. Natural Resources Kangaroo Island hosted the workshop, which was supported by the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. 

Download the workshop report here.

We invite you to sponsor the program

Your sponsorship of this ground breaking feral cat eradication initiative will ensure the protection of our threatened native species and the valuable sheep industry on Kangaroo Island.

Becoming a sponsor of the feral cat eradication initiative offers you a unique opportunity to support for the Island’s threatened wildlife and agricultural industry.

Download the full sponsorship Eradicating feral cats from Kangaroo Island brochure.

Please contact NRKI to discuss sponsorship opportunities and to tailor your offer to suit your needs and budget.  All qualifying donations will receive a tax deductible receipt from our partnering organisation Nature Foundation SA.

Phone: 08 8553 4444

Email: kinrc@sa.gov.au  

Have you seen a feral cat recently?

A new website and an app called the ‘Feral Cat Scan’ has been created to help our community record sightings of feral cats anywhere on the Island. Information you record will help to identify hot-spots for feral cats and identify solutions to the feral cat problem across the Island. Please register your details and login to record feral cat activity in your local area. You can record sightings, impacts (such as predation on native animals) or control activities in Feral Cat Scan. Please visit the website or download the FeralCatScan App.

If you would like to learn more about trapping feral cats in your area, please download the feral cat trapping on KI brochure

 


Related links

More information

  • Communications and media officer
    37 Dauncey Street Kingscote
    08 8553 4444
    kinrc@sa.gov.au