About the document
Land managers of conservation estate have few techniques that can be employed to effectively manage the impacts that Feral Cat populations present to native wildlife species. Large fire events can cause significant immediate loss of wildlife and can also increase the likelihood of predation of surviving native fauna over the longer term given the loss of vegetative cover. This study investigated the efficacy of application of the Curiosity® poison bait to assist in the management of Feral Cats after The Cathedral fire at Wilsons Promontory National Park in February 2009.
Baits were applied over a 90 km2 area from helicopter and also along management tracks on 9 May 2011. Heavy rain and hail fell across the site within 30 hours of bait application and rendered the baits unattractive to cats, limiting the effectiveness of the baiting.
Results indicated that four of eight radio-collared Feral Cats and none of four foxes were poisoned in this study. The use of GPS datalogger collars facilitated data analysis by assessing cat locations with respect to their potential for encountering bait. There did not appear to be a relationship between the home range used by Feral Cats and the fire history at this site. However, this could be an artefact of the two year interval between the fire event and the start of this study. An additional controlled burn at the site did not provide any unequivocal evidence.
Despite inconclusive results achieved in this study, it is believed that the Curiosity® bait could be used to manage Feral Cat and possibly also fox populations after large fire events following registration of the product as an agricultural chemical.