Successful toxic trial of grooming traps complete
The six week trial of Felixer™ grooming traps in toxic mode on the Dudley Peninsula is now complete.
The devices are specifically engineered to target feral cats’ grooming behaviour by squirting a measured dose of sodium fluoroacetate (1080) onto them as they pass in front of the devices, which is then ingested when they groom themselves.
Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board member Dr Peggy Rismiller said this trial was a part of the wider KI Feral Cat Eradication Program.
“This particular trial was specifically designed to test this type of grooming trap and was the last phase in evaluating the device’s effectiveness as the eradication program is rolled out,” Dr Rismiller said.
“This method is one of many tools that will be used in the eradication program”
The trial was undertaken across twelve square kilometres on a single farm, with the full cooperation of the landholder and neighbouring properties.
Venetia Bolwell, team leader of the feral cat eradication program at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI), said the trial was successfully completed with the results showing that there is a place for grooming traps in the program, but that other methods will also be needed.
“During the course of the trial six grooming traps accurately identified and fired at thirteen out of the twenty feral cats encountered,” Ms Bolwell said.
“This is a very good success rate when you consider that there were over 1,300 encounters with other animals, correctly identified as non-targets (trap did not fire) during the trial.
NRKI Feral Cat Eradication Program Community Liaison Officer Karleah Berris said that landowners were happy to be part of the program and doing their bit for the eradication of feral cats from the island.
“After instructing the property owners on how to operate cage traps, optimise their placement and use scents as attractants, we found that they were highly efficient in trapping feral cats,” Ms Berris said.
“Given that one landowner managed to trap seven cats with four cage traps over an eleven night period, it is clear that the full suite of tools and strong community support will be needed in the wider struggle to eradicate feral cats from KI.”
Caged cat traps can be hired for public use from NRKI at 37 Dauncey Street, Kingscote for a small deposit.
A full report of the trial will be compiled and published in due course, a list of preliminary findings can be found here.
The Felixer™ Grooming Traps, which have been used extensively in northern South Australia and the Northern Territory, work by identifying cats from their size, shape and gait as they cross in front of the machines.
When the traps identify a cat, the machine administers a single dose of a toxic gel to the animal’s coat, which is ingested when the cat grooms itself.
Regardless of whether the traps activate, they photograph what passes in front of them to review.
The use of the Felixer™ Grooming Traps in toxic mode was highly regulated, with all required permits for both using 1080 and animal welfare.
The Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication project is a joint initiative of Natural Resources Kangaroo Island and the Kangaroo Island Council. Funded by the Australian Government with in-kind support from DEW, the program is run in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and is partnered with the Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre and Ecological Horizons.
Further information about the use of sodium fluroacetate (1080) in the Feral Cat Eradication Program is available on the NRKI website, including answers to the questions posed by community members at the recent 1080 meeting, available at: https://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland/plants-and-animals/pest-animals/Kangaroo-Island-Feral-Cat-Eradication-Program