News from the Field

Battling the scourge of feral cats

04 Mar. 2021
© W Lawler/AWC

In the wake of a recent federal inquiry into the problem of cats in Australia, AWC reaffirms our commitment to tackling feral predators – which pose the single greatest threat to the survival of our native animals. We continue to lead the charge against feral cats through our large-scale feral predator research program and ever-expanding network of feral predator-free fenced areas.

 

 

The inquiry’s report, released last month by the House of Representatives Environment and Energy Committee, includes a review of the impacts of feral cats on wildlife, and recommends improvements to how Australia tackles the ‘feral cat pandemic’, including an expansion of fenced safe-havens for wildlife of the kind championed by AWC.

 

Image C Burrowing Bettong Lawler © W Lawler/AWC
The Burrowing Bettong (or Boodie) only survives in areas that are free of feral predators, like AWC’s Faure Island Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

Speaking to the committee, AWC’s Chief Science Officer, Dr John Kanowski noted that feral cats are a major and ongoing threat to Australian wildlife and the primary driver of extinction for Australian mammals.

Cats now occupy more than 99% of the Australian continent and every night kill more than three million mammals, two million reptiles and one million birds. A recent amendment to Australia’s official list of threatened species highlights the country’s dismal extinction record, due in large part to the impact of cats.

 

Image D Fenced Area Map 2021 Web
AWC manages Australia’s largest network of feral predator-free areas.

 

AWC’s assertive feral cat strategy was singled as an example of the approach that is required. We manage a total of eight fenced areas including projects at Mt Gibson, Newhaven, and Scotia Wildlife Sanctuaries (as well as predator-free Faure Island) supporting populations of 15 threatened mammal species.

In a powerful endorsement of AWC’s work, the report called for a new ‘national conservation mission’ to expand the network of feral predator-free safe havens – called Project Noah.

 

Image E Western River Refuge Fence Web
AWC last week launched a new Western River Refuge with our partners on Kangaroo Island.

 

Thank you for your support, which is helping AWC tackle feral cats across the country to provide a safer future for Australia’s wildlife.

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