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A review of feral cat eradication on Islands

AuthorsNogales, Manuel ; Martín, Aurelio; Tershy, Bernie R.; Donlan, C. Josh; Veitch, Dick; Puerta, Néstor; Wood, Bill; Alonso, Jesús
Felis catus
feral cat
predation effect
Issue Date2004
CitationConservation Biology 18: pp. 310-319 (2004)
AbstractFeral cats are directly responsible for a large percentage of global extinctions, particularly on islands. We reviewed feral cat eradication programs with the intent of providing information for future island conservation actions. Most insular cat introductions date from the nineteentb and twentieh centuries, wbereas successful eradication programs bave been carried out in the last 30 years, most in the last decade. Globally, feral cats bave been removed from at least 48 islands: 16 in Baja California (Mexico), 10 in New Zealand, 5 in Australia, 4 in the Pacific Ocean, 4 in Seychelles, 3 in the sub-Antarctic, 3 in Macaronesia (Atlantic Ocean), 2 in Mauritius, and 1 in the Caribbean. The majority of these islands (75%; n = 36) are small (<5 km2). The largest successful eradication campaign took place on Marion Island (Seychelles) cat density been successfully removed from only 10 islands (21%) of >10 km2. On Cousine Island (Seychelles) cat density reached 243 cats/km2, but on most islands densities did not exceed 79.2 cats/km2 (n = 22; 81%). The most common methods in successful eradication programs were trapping and bunting (often with dogs; 91% from a total of 43 islands). Frequently, these methods were used togetber. Other methods included poisoning (1080; monofluoracetate in fish baits; n = 13; 31%), secondary poisoning from poisoned rats (n = 4; 10%), and introduction of viral disease (feline panleucopaenia; n = 2; 5%). Impacts from cat predastion and, more recently, the benefits of cat eradications bave been increasingly documented. These impacts and benefits, combined with the continued success of eradication campigns on larger islands, show the value and role of feral cat eradications in biodiversity conservation. However, new and more efficient techniques used in combination with current techniques will likely be needed for success on larger islands.
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