New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2014) 38(2): 307- 314

Eradication of feral cats from large islands: an assessment of the effort required for success

Research Article
John Parkes 1,*
Penny Fisher 2
Sue Robinson 3
Alfonso Aguirre-Muñoz 4
  1. Kurahaupo Consulting, 2 Ashdale Lane, Christchurch 8052, New Zealand
  2. Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand
  3. Invasive Species Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 134 Macquarie St, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  4. Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C., Ensenada, Baja California, México
*  Corresponding author

Feral cats (Felis catus) are predators and competitors of native species on many islands and are therefore the target of control efforts. Cat eradication has been achieved on 83 islands worldwide. Six of these successes have been from large islands (over 2000 ha) and have reported sufficient data to examine how the eradication was achieved through combinations of aerial and ground-based poison baiting, fumigation in rabbit burrows used by cats, cage and leghold trapping, day and night shooting, and hunting with dogs. No common sequence of tactics was deployed although leghold traps were used in the latter phases of most projects. It took a mean reported effort of 543 ± 341 person-days per 1000 ha of island over 5.2 ± 1.6 years to completely remove cats and validate success from the six islands. These precedents may assist in planning future proposals to eradicate cats from other large islands.