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Polar Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 1531–1536 | Cite as

Movements and space use of feral cats in Kerguelen archipelago: a pilot study with GPS data

  • Jodie Martin
  • Benjamin Rey
  • Jean-Baptiste Pons
  • Eugenia Natoli
  • Dominique Pontier
Short Note

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Felis silvestris catus Activity rhythm Home range Sub-Antarctic islands 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

Supplementary material

300_2013_1365_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (80 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 80 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jodie Martin
    • 1
  • Benjamin Rey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jean-Baptiste Pons
    • 2
  • Eugenia Natoli
    • 4
  • Dominique Pontier
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitsSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie EvolutiveUniversité de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, UMR CNRS 5558VilleurbanneFrance
  3. 3.Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  4. 4.Azienda USL Rome D, Area Dipartimentale Sanità Pubblica VeterinariaVeterinary HospitalRomeItaly

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