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Home range and habitat utilisation of feral cats (Felis catus) in Central Queensland

Wilson, C., Fancourt, B., Speed, J. and Gentle, M. (2017) Home range and habitat utilisation of feral cats (Felis catus) in Central Queensland. In: 17th Australasian vertebrate pest conference, Canberra.

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Abstract

Feral cats (Felis catus) threaten many native species through predation, competition and the spread of disease (Department of Environment 2015). Managing feral cats and their impacts, however, is difficult. Effective monitoring and management strategies require a sound knowledge of how feral cats utilise their environment, although key aspects of habitat use will often vary in different environs.
We fitted GPS collars to 9 feral cats (5 male, 4 female) at Taunton National Park in central Queensland to investigate how they utilise their environment. We calculated home ranges for each cat using 12 hourly fixes from May to July 2016. Habitat utilisation within each home range was assessed to identify if cats showed preference for particular vegetation type or landscape features.
On average, home ranges of males were around three times larger than those of females, with spatial overlap evident, both between and within sexes. While the larger home range of males is consistent with other studies, home ranges of both sexes were substantially larger than those of feral cats in similar environs.
Our findings highlight the importance of obtaining site-specific ecological information to ensure local monitoring and management strategies are effective. Extrapolating from studies in similar environs may inadvertently lead to inappropriate management outcomes.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Conservation of natural resources
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Deposited On:10 Jan 2018 02:03
Last Modified:17 Jan 2018 04:03

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