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Evaluation of different baiting strategies for the control of feral cats in eastern Australia

Fancourt, B. A., Cremasco, P., Harry, G., Speed, J., Wilson, C. and Gentle, M. (2019) Evaluation of different baiting strategies for the control of feral cats in eastern Australia. In: 1st Queensland Pest Animal & Weed Symposium, 20-23 May 2019, Gold Coast.

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Article Link(s): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334130715...

Abstract

Feral cats (Felis catus) are notoriously difficult to control using traditional management approaches such as baiting, reportedly due to their preference for hunting live prey. Many factors, however, can potentially influence the success of feral cat baiting programs. As baiting efficacy is rarely measured, the factors contributing to low baiting success are often assumed, but poorly understood. We used a combination of camera traps and cat-borne GPS collars to measure the efficacy of two feral cat baiting programs at Taunton National Park (Scientific) in central Queensland. We trialled a fresh meat bait (the Queensland 'Curiosity 1080 Cat Bait', ~125 g fresh kangaroo meat, 6 mg 1080) during winter 2016, and a chipolata-style meat bait (Eradicat®, ~20g kangaroo mince, chicken fat and flavour enhancers, 4.5 mg 1080) during winter 2017. Track-based ground baiting using Curiosity baits was ineffective, with only 11% of collared cats killed and no observed reduction in population-level feral cat abundance across the site. Low track use by cats and rapid removal of baits by non-target species contributed to low bait encounter rates by cats. In addition, palatability of baits rapidly declined due to meat-ant infestations and bait desiccation. Aerially deployed Eradicat® baits were more effective, with 40% of collared cats killed, and a similar significant reduction in population-level feral cat abundance across the site. The key factors contributing to the observed differences in efficacy were compared and evaluated. We discuss the implications of our findings and recommend approaches to improve the efficacy of feral cat baiting programs.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural ecology (General)
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Deposited On:08 Jul 2019 23:27
Last Modified:08 Jul 2019 23:27

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