Feral cat predation on Leadbeater's possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) and observations of arboreal hunting at nest boxes
Leo B McComb, Pia E Lentini, Dan KP Harley, Lindy F Lumsden, Joanne S Antrobus, Arabella C Eyre, Natalie J Briscoe
AUSTRALIAN MAMMALOGY | CSIRO PUBLISHING | Published : 2019
Feral cats have been identified as a major threat to Australian wildlife; however, their impacts on the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum (Gymobelideus leadbeateri) are unknown. Here, we describe camera trap observations of a feral cat hunting at nest boxes occupied by Leadbeater's possum. Seven feral cats were subsequently captured within the surrounding area: two had Leadbeater's possum remains in their stomachs. The prevalence of cat predation on this species, particularly at nest boxes, and how this can be mitigated warrants further investigation.
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Awarded by ARC Linkage Project
We thank the Arthur Rylah Institute, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) for the use of remote camera traps, and Zoos Victoria and the Mohammed Bin Zayad Species Conservation Fund for project funding. We are grateful to Ron Stielow from Feral Solutions for undertaking cat cage trapping, the cattery and vet clinic teams at Animal Aid Coldstream, the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary and Robyn Carter for the hair identification. We also thank Tania Hoare, (DELWP) and Michael Kealy, Philip Rance, Shane Reger and Darren Barnes from Parks Victoria for their assistance in the transportation of cats. We thank Hugh McGregor and Matthew Rees for assistance with cat identification and Jemma Cripps, Louise Durkin and Jenny Nelson (Arthur Rylah Institute) for their advice and guidance during data collection. NJB was supported by the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub and PEL was supported by ARC Linkage Project (LP160100439).