AUSTRALIA

Researchers Strap A Video Onto A Feral Cat In A Wildlife Sanctuary

08/05/2016 4:51 PM AEST | Updated 08/05/2016 4:51 PM AEST
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The feral cat stalks across the fire-scorched earth, in stealthy pursuit of a small, native animal.

It's the cat's 7th kill of the night, recorded on a modified GoPro camera fitted in a study by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, to be presented at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference this month.

More than 65 cats were fitted with GPS collars and video cameras in wildlife sanctuaries in the Kimberley, Western Australia and Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, to track their movements and conservancy chief executive Atticus Fleming said the results showed each cat hunted 20 times a day with a 30 per cent success rate, killing seven animals per day.

"This footage shows domestic cat owners that there is a big difference between domestic and feral cats," Fleming said.

"I think the debate around feral cats has matured and state governments are starting to take the threat to native wildlife seriously, especially in WA and NSW."

feral cat sanctuary conservancy

A feral cat stalks a rocky slope.

The footage also showed favoured hunting grounds were recently burned bush, presumably because ground cover was reduced.

Fleming said there was a moral conflict about fitting feral cats with cameras and releasing them in the name of knowledge.

"It is challenging to put a GPS collar on a feral cat -- the temptation is to simply remove every cat that you catch but when there are four million cats out there, removing that one cat is not actually going to help native animals.

"We need to use this research to find a way to remove feral cats from the landscape, or if not that, at least find a way to control them."

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