Long-term protection of important seabird breeding colonies on Tasman Island through eradication of cats
- Invasive Species Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, PO Box 44, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
- Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, PO Box 44, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
- Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Arthur Rylah Institute, PO Box 137 Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
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. Key to the success of the programme was the identification of a narrow window of low prey availability for cats. Post-eradication monitoring of the two most common seabird species, fairy prions and short-tailed shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris), showed positive signs towards population recovery. Prion activity increased three-fold and shearwater breeding success increased.