Movements and space use of feral cats in Kerguelen archipelago: a pilot study with GPS data
- 372 Downloads
The domestic cat has been introduced on several sub-Antarctic islands such as the Kerguelen archipelago (48°28′–50°S, 68°28′–70°35E), causing a worrying impact on the viability of some seabird populations. A better understanding of the biology of this introduced predator is needed to help design appropriate management actions. To investigate the effectiveness of a GPS study on feral cats living on the Kerguelen main island and to gain preliminary results on cat space use and fine-scale movement patterns, we fitted GPS collars on three young adult males and recorded cat location at a high frequency (every 5 min) for 2–3 weeks, during the austral summer. Home-range sizes varied from 0.30 to 0.73 km², with large overlaps in space but not in time. Cats were active during the warmest hours of the day, with a peak of activity around 2:00 p.m. This preliminary result suggests that trapping for management of the population should therefore yield the highest number of captures in the afternoon and before sunrise, when cats are more active. Our pilot study demonstrated the potential of using GPS to track feral cats in sub-Antarctic islands, opening up opportunities to get deep insights in the spatial ecology of these introduced predators.
KeywordsFelis silvestris catus Activity rhythm Home range Sub-Antarctic islands
We thank Léo Martin and Guillaume Chagneau for excellent field assistance in the data collection. This work was supported by the French Polar Institute (IPEV, programme no. 279) and the CNRS, ZA Programme “Environnement, Vie et Société’’. We acknowledge support from the Embassy of France in South Africa and the Claude Leon Foundation. We thank four anonymous referees for their helpful comments on the manuscript.
- Derenne P (1976) Notes sur la biologie du chat haret de Kerguelen. Mammalia 40:531–595Google Scholar
- Goszczynski J, Krauze D, Gryz J (2009) Activity and exploration range of house cats in rural areas of central Poland. Folia Zool 58:363–371Google Scholar
- Hilmer SS, Algar D, Johnston M (2010) Opportunistic observation of predation of loggerhead turtle hatchlings by feral cats on Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia. J R Soc West Aust 93:141–146Google Scholar
- Lebouvier M, Laparie M, Hullé M, Marais A, Cozic Y, Lalouette L, Vernon P, Candresse T, Frenot Y, Renault D (2011) The significance of the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands for the assessment of the vulnerability of native communities to climate changes, alien insect invasions and plant viruses. Biol Invasions 13:1195–1208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Liberg O, Sandell M, Pontier D, Natoli E (2000) Density, spatial organisation and reproductive tactics in the domestic cat and other felids. In: Turner DC, Bateson PP (eds) The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 119–147Google Scholar
- Pontier D, Say L, Debias F, Bried J, Thioulouse J, Michol T, Natoli E (2002) The diet of feral Cats (Felis catus L.) at five sites on the Grande Terre, Kerguelen archipelago. Polar Biol 25:833–837Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2010) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. version 2.9.0. R foundation for statistical computing. Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
- Say L, Gaillard JM, Pontier D (2002a) Spatio-temporal variation in cat population density in a sub-Antarctic environment. Polar Biol 25:90–95Google Scholar
- Say L, Devillard S, Natoli E, Pontier D (2002b) The mating system of feral cats (Felis catus L.) in a sub-Antarctic environment. Polar Biol 25:838–842Google Scholar