Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 209–221 | Cite as

Optimizing control programmes by integrating data from fine-scale space use by introduced predators

  • Mariano R. Recio
  • Richard F. Maloney
  • Renaud Mathieu
  • Emilio Virgós
  • Antoni B. Moore
  • Philip J. Seddon
Original Paper


The control of introduced mammalian predators (IMP) through trapping campaigns relies on operator experience to deploy traps in sites with an expected high probability of IMP presence, where the maximum number of captures is anticipated. We tested the limitations of available information on fine-scale spatial use by feral cats modelled from remote data collection methods (small-resolution satellite imagery and GPS-telemetry) in an intensive control campaign conducted over 8 years in an ecologically sensitive area of New Zealand. We calculated dichotomous optimal/sub-optimal areas for cats and found that operators placed traps in or close to optimal areas. Over a continuous range of probabilities of cat use, trap sites were not principally placed in hot spots of cat use. Logistic regression revealed that the probability of cat use was significantly associated with the probability of capture. However, regressing catch-effort against the probability of cat use showed no association between sites of high probability of cat use and higher capture rates. The incorporation in the models of bait, trap type, and habitat suitability for rabbits, as variables of operator’s choice showed that rabbit suitability, and the combination of baits/traps were significant. Results suggest that trapping feral cats is a complex process that likely relies on variables of space, time, and individual cognition. However, control programmes could improve trap deployment by identifying sites of high probability of cat use to maximize capture probability, while traps in sub-optimal areas could be removed (cost reduction), reallocated to optimal areas, or used to “fence” core conservation areas.


Introduced mammalian predators Fine-scale Space use Control programmes Trapping Feral cats 



The authors acknowledge the Department of Conservation in Twizel for assisting in this research based on their predator control work in the Tasman River Valley and for providing the trapping database. To Simon Stevenson for his invaluable contribution to fieldwork in the Godley Valley. This research was funded by University of Otago PBRF allocations from the School of Surveying and Department of Zoology.

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1274_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (146 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 145 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of SurveyingUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of ConservationChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Earth Observation Research GroupCSIR-Natural Resource EnvironmentPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Geology, College of Experimental Science and TechnologyUniversidad Rey Juan CarlosMóstolesSpain
  5. 5.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  6. 6.Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and MeteorologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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