Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Multiple Methods of Monitoring Cats at a Landscape-scale

Version 1 : Received: 11 November 2021 / Approved: 15 November 2021 / Online: 15 November 2021 (11:57:03 CET)

How to cite: Lohr, C.; Nilsson, K.; Johnson, A.; Hamilton, N.; Onus, M.; Algar, D. Multiple Methods of Monitoring Cats at a Landscape-scale. Preprints 2021, 2021110258 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0258.v1). Lohr, C.; Nilsson, K.; Johnson, A.; Hamilton, N.; Onus, M.; Algar, D. Multiple Methods of Monitoring Cats at a Landscape-scale. Preprints 2021, 2021110258 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0258.v1).

Abstract

Feral cats are both difficult to manage and harder to monitor. We analysed the cost-efficacy of monitoring the pre- and post-bait abundance of feral cats via camera-traps or track counts using four years of data from the Matuwa Indigenous protected Area. Additionally, we report on the recovery of the feral cat population and the efficacy of subsequent Eradicat® aerial baiting programs following 12 months of intensive feral cat control in 2019 that consisted of aerial baiting and leg-hold trapping. Significantly fewer cats were captured in 2020 (n = 8) compared to 2019 (n = 126). Pre-baiting surveys for 2020 and 2021 suggested that the population of feral cats on Matuwa was very low, at 5.5 and 4.4 cats/100 km respectively, which is well below our target threshold of 10 cats/100 km. Post-baiting surveys then recorded 3.6 and 3.0 cats/100 km respectively, which still equates to a 35% and 32% reduction in cat activity. Track counts recorded significantly more feral cats than camera traps and were cheaper to implement. We recommend that at least two methods of monitoring cats be implemented to prevent erroneous conclusions.

Keywords

feral cat; Felis catus; Australia; Indigenous Protected Area; 1080; camera; tracking

Subject

BIOLOGY, Animal Sciences & Zoology

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