posted 1 May, 2024

Managing a northern migration: How Felixer traps on north Bruny Island can help control feral cat movement from the island’s south.


Following years of targeted control of feral and stray cats on north Bruny Island, it is estimated that very few cats now remain in the area. This success story is good news for the island’s native wildlife – such as Eastern Quolls, Dusky Antechinus, Short-tailed Shearwaters, Little Penguins and the myriad of other bird and mammal species that call Bruny Island home. However, remaining feral cat populations in the island’s south could see new arrivals moving into the region in the future.

Since 2018, NRM South has been working with project partners in Bruny Island through an Australian Government funded project to address the impacts of feral, stray and roaming domestic cats to Bruny Island’s wildlife – with a particular focus on Eastern Quolls and the northern section of Bruny Island. In 2023, this project received a year-long extension to assess ongoing management interventions.

NRM South worked with project partner Biosecurity Tasmania to continue trialling Felixer grooming traps and further assess their potential role as a management tool. The Felixer grooming trap is a new and emerging tool that provides a passive and low impact method to target feral cats and is currently in use across Australia.

First used on Bruny Island as part of NRM South’s earlier project, it contributed to the removal of 119 cats from north Bruny Island. An additional three feral cats were removed as part of the extension project. The trial extension also yielded useful information on how to improve the trap’s performance in the field over the winter months, where decreased daylight hours can impact the functioning of this solar-powered device.

Over the past few years, these NRM South-led projects have had a significant impact on the feral cat population in north Bruny Island. However, this outcome can only be maintained if the movement of feral cats from southern Bruny Island is significantly reduced or prevented. A review of the use of Felixer traps by Biosecurity Tasmania has concluded that these traps, in combination with other control techniques, could provide a valuable and complementary tool in achieving this goal.

This project is supported by NRM South through funding from the Australian Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program’.