As a major threat to New Zealand’s biodiversity, feral cats (Felis catus) are the subject of planned eradications on a number of offshore islands, including Rakiura Stewart Island. We used camera traps to estimate population density of feral cats on the north-east coast of Rakiura, and to investigate their movement behaviour and detection probability. We also used camera footage to compare the consumption of two types of non-toxic sausage baits (chicken and rabbit) with a view to future use of toxic baits.
In order to conserve important biodiversity values, eradication of feral cats (Felis catus) is planned on Auckland Island in the New Zealand subantarctic region. This eradication will require detailed knowledge of the abundance, distribution, movement behaviour and detection probability of cats on the island. We investigated these parameters on a peninsula at the northern end of the island using live trapping, camera trapping, and scat searches with and without detection dogs. Here, we compare the results of these methods, and discuss their utility for the planned eradication.
Invasive predators are a threat to biodiversity in New Zealand. However, they are often difficult to monitor because of the animals’ cryptic, mobile behaviour and low densities. Camera traps are increasingly being used to monitor wildlife, but until recently have been used mainly for large species. We aimed to determine the optimal camera alignment (horizontal or vertical) for detecting feral cats (Felis catus) and mustelids (Mustela furo, M. erminea and M. nivalis). We deployed 20 pairs of cameras, each pair with one horizontal and one vertical camera.