Cats on Bruny Island

This partnership project started in July 2016 with funding by the Australian Government. The aim is to undertake the foundational work to assess and manage the impacts of cats on the island.

Why Bruny Island?

Islands play a critical role in the conservation of Australia’s unique native fauna and feral cats are among the greatest threats to the conservation of island species (especially endemic mammals and birds, and breeding seabirds).

Bruny Island is a hotspot for biodiversity and is a world-class nature-based tourist destination. With an extensive coastline and diverse terrestrial habitats it is a sanctuary for nesting seabirds and shorebirds and has a wide diversity of other land dwelling mammals and birds. It is a designated site of global importance for bird conservation and it has the highest recorded number of native terrestrial mammal species of any Tasmanian off-shore island. Ten of these terrestrial dependent mammal and bird species are listed as threatened and twelve are of conservation significance.

The Island has been identified with having important high-risk native species under the Australian Government’s Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats. The protection of threatened native mammals from feral cats is also a priority of the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy (2015).

On Bruny at least 13 native mammal and 50 native bird species are at risk from feral cat predation including the: threatened Eastern Quoll, Hooded Plover and Forty-Spotted Pardalote; Short-tailed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Little Penguin, Long-nosed Potoroo.

In addition, grazing (predominantly sheep) accounts for about 14% of land use on the Island and feral cats adversely impact on agriculture productivity through the spread of livestock diseases (sarcocystis and toxoplasmosis).