Primary poisoning is an important method to ensure the successful eradication of cats (Felis catus) from large islands. Poison bait options for feral cat eradications and landscape-scale control in New Zealand are limited at present. As part of the development of a toxic bait for cats that can be aerially distributed, a nontoxic palatability trial was undertaken on Auckland Island to compare three types of prototype meat-based bait and one currently registered fishmeal polymer pellet for their palatability to feral cats and non-target species.
Stoats and feral cats are key predators of some of New Zealand’s most threatened fauna and landscape-scale control tools are urgently needed. A ready-made meat bait is being developed for use in both aerial and ground-based control operations. As part of the development, two trials with non-toxic versions of the bait were undertaken: one targeting stoats in Fiordland in spring 2020 and the other targeting feral cats in the Mackenzie Basin in winter 2021. The trials aimed to assess the palatability of baits to both target and non-target species.
Managing invasive species requires knowledge of their ecology, including distribution, habitat use, and home range. In particular, understanding how biotic and abiotic factors influence home range can help with pest management decision-making, as well as informing native species management. Feral cats, self-sustaining cat populations that live independently of people, have caused numerous extinctions and continue to adversely affect native species globally.
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.
Invasive predator control to protect native fauna usually takes place in native habitat. We investigated the effects of predator control across 6000 ha of multi-tenure, pastoral landscape in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand. Since 2011, low-cost predator control has been conducted using a network of kill traps for mustelids (Mustela spp.), and live trapping for feral cats (Felis catus). Although not deliberately targeted, other invasive mammals (particularly hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus) were also trapped.
A restoration programme was initiated in 2008 in response to high levels of seabird predation by feral cats (Felis catus) at Australia’s largest fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur) colony on Tasman Island, Tasmania. The primary knockdown involved aerial baiting with para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) in meat baits. The efficacy of baiting was lower than expected resulting in trapping and hunting commencing earlier than planned. Cats were successfully eradicated over two weeks.
Feral cats became established on Raoul Island some time between 1836 and 1872; the prey available to them included a great variety of nesting seabirds, few of which are present now, landbirds and kiore (Rattus exulans). Norway rats reached the island in 1921, providing additional prey for cats, but also another potential predator of seabirds. The diet of cats is described from guts and scats collected between 1972 and 1980. Rats are the main food, with land birds second in importance, and seabirds are now a minor item.