Feral cats (Felis catus) have a negative impact on native biodiversity in New Zealand. As such, their populations require careful management and monitoring of the effectiveness of these management operations. We used camera traps to assess (1) effectiveness of an intensive cat control operation, and (2) the level of reinvasion six months later. Cat abundance was estimated on a pastoral property in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand, subject to cat control using trapping and shooting.
Stoats are implicated in the severe decline of certain iconic endemic species in New Zealand. Stoats are notoriously difficult to control, as they are highly cryptic and often neophobic around control techniques such as traps and poison baits in tunnels. Stoats are often killed through secondary poisoning in both aerial and hand-lay operations targeting other mammalian pests. We prototype trialled a novel approach to poisoning of stoats: wild-caught ship rats that had consumed (and subsequently died from) a lethal dose of 1080 cereal baits in a captive facility.
As New Zealand attempts to become predator free by 2050, transitioning aerial 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) operations from predator control to complete predator removal has become an important research objective. Aerial 1080 operations may not remove every last target animal, but they may be able to remove a very high proportion (> 0.99). We trialled a modified [dual] aerial 1080 operation for the removal of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), ship rats (Rattus rattus), and stoats (Mustela erminea) at large spatial scale.
The impact of feral cats on native wildlife is becoming increasingly recognised worldwide, making their management a necessity. As New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 goal leads to larger and more ambitious landscape scale programmes, there is an important need for cost- and time-effective tools. Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) was first registered in New Zealand for feral cats and stoats in 2011 under the name PredaSTOP® and has higher target specificity for feral cats than currently used toxins.