Cat management actions for eastern quolls on north Bruny Island

SUMMARY

This project aims to reduce the impact of cats (domestic, stray and feral) on north Bruny Island’s eastern quoll population. This will be done by removing feral and stray cats from north Bruny Island and assisting residents and visitors in complying with the Bruny Island Cat By-law.

 

BACKGROUND

Feral cats have contributed to the extinction of at least 22 Australian mammal species since colonisation and are continuing to drive biodiversity declines across Australia. Removing cats on a landscape scale remains an ongoing challenge in Australian conservation. As a result, islands, particularly those with threatened species such as Bruny Island, are increasingly being valued as potential safe havens for biodiversity. Island based cat management programs that work towards eradication can have lasting positive outcomes for wildlife in these landscapes.

Bruny Island was selected as an ideal site for cat management as it is a critical stronghold for the eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus). This species has been extinct on mainland Australia since the 1960s and as a result is one of 20 priority mammal species listed under the 2015 Threatened Species Strategy. Tasmania’s eastern quoll population has been steadily declining over the past two decades, due in part to predation by cats.  Cat management on Bruny Island aims to support the long-term persistence of this species and other native wildlife on Bruny Island. Cat control will also have positive benefits for the island’s sheep farmers, as cats harbour diseases. This project builds on the 2017-2019 Bruny Island Cat Management project (more information can be found here).

PARTNERS

Kingborough Council, Biosecurity Tasmania, Bruny Farming, weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation and the Ten Lives Cat Centre.

 

FUNDING

The Australian Government’s National Landcare Program – Environmental Restoration Fund

 

PROJECT DURATION

2020-2023

 

APPROACH

This project is helping to protect eastern quoll from cat predation on north Bruny Island through the following actions;

  • Feral cat control activities (cage trapping and where possible spotlight shooting) across north Bruny Island.
  • Remove stray cats from key hotspot areas of Bruny Island.
  • Monitor changes in cat density across North Bruny.
  • Run trials of three new feral cat removal methods including; Felixer‘Grooming traps’, thermal shooting and a non-toxic trial of the ‘Curiosity’ feral cat bait. The trials will assess the effectiveness and potential impacts of these new methods.
  • Better understand the movement patterns and interactions between cats and eastern quolls by fitting 20 eastern quolls and five feral cats with GPS collars.
  • Support the management of a purpose-built Cat Facility at Alonnah where stray, roaming or unwanted cats can be brought to for, assessment and rehoming (jointly funded and managed by the Ten Lives Cat Centre and Kingborough Council).
  • Engage with the Bruny Island community and cat owners, to share information about the By-law and responsible cat management practices.

Image credit: sharloch on Flickr

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Ongoing community involvement has been critical to successful cat management on Bruny Island. A 2018 community survey on the island found that ~90% of respondents support cat management (including feral cat eradication). Community engagement is growing, with increasing numbers of residents and visitors reporting cat sightings, and community members helping to trap feral cats on their properties.

Browse through the sections below to see how you can contribute to cat management on Bruny.

If you own a cat and live on, or regularly visit Bruny Island:

  • Register your cat with Kingborough Council
  • Desex and microchip your cat
  • Keep your cat on your property
  • Visit without your cat

If you want to help with cat management, you can:

  • Report all cat sightings using the FeralCatScan phone App or contact Kingborough Council
  • Ensure stray cats are reported and aren’t fed
  • Keep all food waste and animal feeds secure from wildlife
  • Contact Kingborough Council’s Cat Management Officer about trapping cats on your property (03 6211 8284 or [email protected])

Responsible cat ownership helps protect the health and welfare of domestic cats and manage the adverse impacts of cats on wildlife and agriculture. The Bruny Island Cat By-Law is helping to foster responsible cat ownership on the island.

The By-Law states that cat owners on Bruny Island must;

  • Register their cat with Kingborough Council
  • Desex and microchip their cat
  • Keep their cat within their property boundaries
  • Keep no more than two domestic cats without a permit

It is also illegal for anyone to feed any stray cats on Bruny Island.

Cat registration is free and help is available for cat owners to comply with the By-Law including:

  • Discounted desexing and micro-chipping
  • Cat netting for enclosures
  • Advice on containment and re-homing of cats.

Please contact Kingborough Council’s Cat Management Officer (03 6211 8284 or [email protected]).

 

More info on responsible cat ownership here and here

Download a copy of the By-law here

The cat facility at Alonnah provides a place for the community to bring domestic or stray cats that need a new home. At the facility cats are cared for, assessed and either reunited with their owner or if possible, rehomed by the Ten Lives Cat Centre.

In 2020-2021, 13 stray cats were taken to the Bruny Island Cat Facility, the majority of these cats were able to be rehomed through the work of the Ten Lives Cat Centre.

Address: 3893 Bruny Island Main Road, Alonnah (blue building on the rise behind the Post Office)

If you’d like to visit or bring a cat to the facility, please contact Kingborough Council’s Cat Management Officer on 03 6211 8284 or [email protected].

Record all sightings of feral cats on Bruny Island via FeralCatScan. Visit www.feralcatscan.org.au to report sightings of feral cats, or download the free smart phone App. The program is notified of all cat sightings on the island that are recorded on the website or App.

https://www.feralscan.org.au/feralcatscan/

Feral and stray cat trapping

Assistance is being offered to Bruny Islanders to trap stray cats on private land. By arrangement, traps and assistance are available. Captured cats are taken to the Bruny Island Cat Facility at Alonnah for assessment and care.

For further information, advice or to loan traps please contact Kingborough Council’s Cat Management Officer, on 03 6211 8284 or [email protected].

ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

  • Removal of 40 cats (23 feral and 17 stray) from the project area in the 2020-2021 financial year
  • Compliance of more than 50% of registered cat owners on Bruny Island with the Cat By-Law.
  • Opening of Bruny Island cat facility
  • Commencement of feral cat control within the seabird colonies of north Bruny Island
  • Commencement of camera monitoring to estimate cat densities across North Bruny
  • Community support for feral cat trapping and camera monitoring
  • Trials of new feral cat control techniques such as thermal shooting.
  • Commencement of GPS tracking of feral cats to better understand their movement patterns
Bruny Island cat facility
Setting feral cat traps
Community forum