New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2021) 45(1): 3424

Using para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) as a tool to control feral cats in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Research Article
Natalie de Burgh 1*
Al S. Glen 2
Kelly Mayo 3
Mark Mitchell 1
  1. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, 159 Dalton St, Napier 4110, New Zealand
  2. Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, 231 Morrin Road, St Johns, Auckland 1072, New Zealand
  3. Department of Conservation, 59 Marine Parade, Napier 4110, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

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. Following a successful trial of PAPP on Toronui Station, Hawke’s Bay in 2017, a larger operation was undertaken in 2018 across 9123 ha of the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project area in Hawke’s Bay. Camera traps were used to monitor the relative abundance of feral cats on Opouahi Station (treatment site) and at Waitere Station(non-treatment site). A network of 287 bait stations was established in 500 m grid spacings across the treatment site. Two applications of non-toxic pre-feed minced meat baits were followed by two applications of toxic PAPP baits. PAPP baits were dyed green and contained 80 mg of PredaSTOP® in the centre of the bait. Each application of PredaSTOP® consisted of two baits placed at either end of each bait station. Toxic baits were removed from at least 130 bait stations. We assume that ≥ 130 feral cats are likely to have been killed, resulting in a 39% reduction in the relative abundance of feral cats after the operation. Our results suggest that PAPP has the potential to be a useful management tool across large areas alongside other methods.