Identification of sites of high conservation priority impacted by feral cats

University of Sydney, 2010

Threat abatement project
Report for the Australian Government
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, February 2010

Summary

Feral cats (Felis catus) have been recorded throughout the Australian mainland and on many offshore islands. Predation by feral cats has been implicated, together with other factors, in the population declines of many species of native vertebrates. Some of these declines have resulted in the shifting of species' conservation status to a more endangered level, with several native species having become extinct. Predation by feral cats is classified as a key threatening process by the Australian Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This report uses an interactive decision-making tree based on characteristics of prey species to provide a relative measure of probable cat impacts between sites on the Australian mainland and offshore islands. The decision-making tree provides a single score for geographical (IBRA) regions, specific mainland sites and offshore islands that may be used comparatively for the allocation of resources for cat control programs. Although the scores in this report are based only on those species listed in the Australian Government's Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats (2008), comparative scores can be calculated and allocated for sites that support any species at risk of predation by feral cats and classified as threatened, endangered, or vulnerable at the national, state or local level.