The State Government is launching the next phase of the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program with a specific focus on Dudley Peninsula.
“This ambitious feral cat eradication program aims to ultimately eliminate the invasive predator and cement the Island’s reputation as being a safe haven for native wildlife,” said Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs.
“Feral cats decimate native wildlife on the Island and also have an impact on livestock which hurts our Island’s farming businesses.
“The first phase of the program involved monitoring the movements, densities and habits of feral cats, trialling a range of control tools in non-toxic mode, and informing the community.
“The findings from the initial investigations have helped to inform the design of the next phase of the eradication program on the Dudley Peninsula.
“The next phase will start with an 18 month project involving the use of Felixer grooming traps, with the aim of removing up to 500 feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula.
“Departmental staff will place and operate the grooming traps, working alongside landholders and volunteers who will be involved in data monitoring and analysis.
“As part of the program, feral cats on the Peninsula will be contained within a cat-proof fence, which will be installed in coming months.
“Community concerns about the fence have been taken into account and the department is working with landholders on a suitable alignment to minimise unwanted impacts.
“The fence will use a variety of technologies, including an electric grid on Hog Bay Road, and the design will include a gap, providing movement for native animal while halting feral cats.”
The KI NRM Board has applied for further Australian Government funding for the eradication program and, if successful, this will allow the full program to be rolled out across Dudley Peninsula.
KI NRM Board Presiding Member Richard Trethewey said Islanders will be glad to see the back of feral cats, although this will be a long-term endeavour.
“Feral cats have a devastating impact on the Island’s native wildlife and carry diseases such as sarcocystis and toxoplasmosis, which can spread to livestock causing substantial economic costs to the Island’s sheep industry,” said Mr Trethewey.
Agriculture KI Chair Rick Morris, says landholders are keen to work closely with NRKI to help roll out the eradication program.
“Given the impact that feral cats have on the Island’s livestock industry and wildlife it is no surprise that many landholders are keen to do their bit to support the eradication program.”
DEW Regional Director Damian Miley says that the program has conducted extensive investigative work to ensure there is minimal risk to native wildlife and domestic pets.
“Having a steering committee ensures that best practice and high standards are maintained to minimise potential adverse impacts to native wildlife and address any animal welfare considerations,” Mr Miley said.