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Feral cat eradication on Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia

Abstract

Feral cats are known to drive numerous extinctions of endemic species on islands. Predation by feral cats also currently threatens many species listed as critically endangered. Island faunas that have evolved in the absence of mammalian predators are particularly susceptible to cat predation. Dirk Hartog Island is no exception as cats have caused the local extinction of its once high vertebrate diversity. A programme to reconstruct the native fauna on the island necessitated feral cat eradication. In this paper we outline the strategy, removal techniques and monitoring methods used in this successful eradication of feral cats. Globally, the Dirk Hartog project has become the largest successful island feral cat eradication campaign attempted to date.

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Acknowledgements

The Dirk Hartog Island Ecological Restoration Project is funded by the Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits Fund and supported by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Animal Ethics Committee approved protocols 2009/35, 2012/41 and 2015/39, which describe activities undertaken in this project. We thank David Will (Island Conservation) for reviewing this manuscript and the assessment of eradication success. We thank the visitors to Dirk Hartog Island for their interest and support of the project. We also acknowledge the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for their suggestions.

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Correspondence to D. Algar.

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Algar, D., Johnston, M., Tiller, C. et al. Feral cat eradication on Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia. Biol Invasions 22, 1037–1054 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02154-y

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Keywords

  • Feral cat
  • Felis catus
  • Eradication
  • Island conservation