Prepared for the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, 1996
About the report
Feral cats and native wildlife - what are the impacts? This question has been asked by researchers for many years, seemingly without much progress. On the one hand, we know that feral cats have caused extinctions on some islands and have caused the failure of reintroduction programs for endangered mammals in semi-arid areas. On the other hand, cats have been present in Tasmania, on Kangaroo island and in the northern parts of Australia for at least as long as anywhere else yet these places have retained virtually the full complement of their original fauna.
If a native population is declining, the cause of that decline should be identified before any remedial work is undertaken. Many different things, such as habitat modification or introduced species, could be a causal factor in such declines. As such it is highly desirable to identify the actual cause of a decline in the population before commitment is made to an extensive feral animal control campaign.
A series of national overviews were commissioned by the Invasive Species Program to determine the impacts of feral animals on our native wildlife. This overview brings together all of the existing information concerning the effects of feral cats on native species and identifies key gaps in knowledge. It will be an invaluable tool in clarifying the impacts of invasive species on the Australian environment and, perhaps more importantly, provides a strategic direction for future research and control of feral cat impacts. Peter Bridgewater Chief Executive Officer Australian Nature Conservation Agency