Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program
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.
The Board formally launched the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication 2015 -2030 Prospectus at the Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne in July 2015 (this will be reviewed as the program develops).
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 public donations.
To find out more technical detail about the KI Feral Cat Eradication Program, please download the FAQ's here.
Why eradicate feral cats?
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)
Please view the image gallery to learn more about the impacts of feral cats and follow these links ABC Landline and ABC.
Feral cats also spread livestock diseases (sarcocystis and toxoplasmosis) that have a huge impact on primary production and profitability, causing substantial economic cost to the Kangaroo Island sheep industry (approximately $2 million annually).
Why Kangaroo Island?
Kangaroo Island is nationally important for biodiversity conservation, primary production and tourism, with about 50% of the native vegetation remaining. The island is also free from introduced predators such as foxes and rabbits, found elsewhere in Australia
Should the eradication program succeed, the Island would become the world's largest inhabited island free of feral cats. 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.
Trialling feral cat control techniques, establishing baseline monitoring programs and improving domestic cat management.
Before any eradication can begin baselines need to be established and methods of eradication tried and tested. Between 2016 – 2019 trials were undertaken to monitor feral cat populations in selected areas and to study behavioural patterns, including home ranges and to learn more about feral cat densities in different habitats.
Technical report on Kangaroo Island feral cat research studies and control trials 2016–2018
The Felixer versus Felis Project was supported by the Kangaroo Island NRM Board and funded through the Australian Government's Threatened Species Recovery Fund. It was conducted across public and private land on the Dudley Peninsula and aimed to engage landholders in feral cat control activities to investigate the effectiveness of the Felixer™ grooming traps through field tests.
Preliminary findings from an initial toxic trial of the Felixer grooming traps can be found here.
The Felixer versus Felis Project was successfully implemented and produced three reports:
Felixer vs Felis - Community Engagement report
Felixer vs Felis - Feral Cat Density Estimate report
Felixer vs Felis - Terrain Ecology report
Creating a safe haven for threatened species on the Dudley Peninsula
The Safe Haven for Threatened Species Project is a four year project supported by the KI NRM Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
This project will create a permanent safe haven for the endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart, and other EPBC-listed species such as the KI echidna and hooded plover, by eradicating feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula, an area of 384 square km of mixed bushland, coastal and agricultural landscapes at the eastern end of the island. The peninsula will be isolated from the remainder of the island by a cat barrier fence built across the narrow isthmus to prevent re-invasions from the west. Feral cats will be eradicated using trapping, baiting and shooting methods, and eradication will be verified by a range of methods including camera monitoring and detector dogs.
The eradication plan for the eradication on the Dudley Peninsula is a document that will be used to guide the operational plan, how we will carry out the eradication. This plan was prepared for the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board by consultants, Envisage Environmental Services, a copy of which can be downloaded here
Further detailed information on the project will be updated on the project page found here, as the project progresses.
Construction on the cat barrier fence across the narrow isthmus of the island to prevent re-invasion from the west began in mid-Dec 2019 and it is anticipated construction will be completed by late Feb 2020. The fence will initially have four “gaps” which will be monitored to study the movement of Macropods through the “gaps” and along the fence itself. Following a period of monitoring, decisions will be made on closing the “gaps”, where possible, and placing animal aversion techniques or cat-proof grids at others.
Monitoring plans will be finalised by end of Feb 2020, by which stage the fence will be operational.
2023 - 2030
Eradicate feral cats from Kangaroo Island and monitor the success of controls.
When feral cats have been successfully eradicated from the Dudley Peninsula, program learnings will be used to inform feral cat eradication across Kangaroo Island. Compliance with KI Council by-laws re responsible ownership of domestic cats is a vital component of both current and future eradication efforts.
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
Responsible (domestic) cat ownership
Did you know that Kangaroo Island has the strictest laws relating to domestic cat ownership in Australia?
Since 2007 the KI Council has had in place strict bylaws governing the ownership of domestic cats. Cats on Kangaroo Island must be:
- Contained to your premises (House) unless in a contained run
- Restricted to no more than two cats per premises*
A person must not, in any circumstances, bring or cause, suffer or permit to be
brought onto Kangaroo Island an un-spayed cat that is not registered with the
Council as a breeding cat at the date this By-law commences operation.
A full version of the bylaws can be downloaded here
*Registered cat breeders can be given permission from the Council to more cats, registration must be made with the Council on an annual basis, registered catteries are also exempt.
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