Journal article

Enumerating a continental-scale threat: How many feral cats are in Australia?

S Legge, BP Murphy, H McGregor, JCZ Woinarski, J Augusteyn, G Ballard, M Baseler, T Buckmaster, CR Dickman, T Doherty, G Edwards, T Eyre, BA Fancourt, D Ferguson, DM Forsyth, WL Geary, M Gentle, G Gillespie, L Greenwood, R Hohnen Show all



Feral cats (Felis catus) have devastated wildlife globally. In Australia, feral cats are implicated in most recent mammal extinctions and continue to threaten native species. Cat control is a high-profile priority for Australian policy, research and management. To develop the evidence-base to support this priority, we first review information on cat presence/absence on Australian islands and mainland cat-proof exclosures, finding that cats occur across >99.8% of Australia's land area. Next, we collate 91 site-based feral cat density estimates in Australia and examine the influence of environmental and geographic influences on density. We extrapolate from this analysis to estimate that the fe..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The collation, analysis and preparation of this paper were supported by the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program (Threatened Species Recovery Hub). For providing extra context to material presented in publications, for finding references, for general information, and for comments we thank: Neil Burrows, Mike Calver, Roo Campbell, Pete Copley, Matt Hayward, Bidda Jbnes, John Kanowski, Dave Kendal, Geoff Lundie-Jenkins, Trish O'Hara, Katrina Prior. For assistance in the estimation of cat density from contributing studies: J. Potts (for HMcG/AWC); G. Hemson, B. Nolan, C. Mitchell (for JA, MR, SH); NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, Walcha (for GB, FZ); Kakadu National Park and traditional owners, NESP Northern Environmental Research Hub, T. Gentles, K. Brennan, L. Einoder (for GG, DS); Australian Research Council (BF); Australian Research Council LP100100033 (for HH); Australian Research Council LP100100033 (for CNJ); Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (BF); A. Stewart (for PMcD); Parks Victoria's Research Partners Program, Department of Land, Water and Planning Victoria, J. Wright (for DN, ER); J. White, R. Cooke (for AR, DRS); South West Catchments Council (for JS).