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Cats on Bruny Island

What’s it all about?

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 and to develop a long term management plan.

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).

What are we are doing?

  • Monitoring and controlling feral cats at the Neck and North Bruny. This will determine their distribution and density and manage their impacts. The Neck is a site of important conservation and tourism significance and North Bruny is a stronghold for the threatened Eastern Quoll.
  • Tracking the movement of feral cats. This work is identifying key locations and timing for targeted control of feral cats and assessing whether intensive management at the Neck can play a key role in limiting the dispersal of feral cats to North Bruny (where their numbers are lower than in the south).
  • A comprehensive monitoring program is underway to inform long term management of feral cats on the island. The aim is to identify the impact of cat control on the priority seabirds, shorebirds and small mammals (including at the Neck and adjacent areas); improve our understanding of the distribution and ecology of feral cats across the entire island and assess the impact of cat control on the rest of the ecosystem. Species being monitored include Short-tailed Shearwaters, Little Penguins, Hooded Plovers, Eastern Quolls and other small native and introduced mammals.
  • Undertaking a feasibility study to assess whether feral cat eradication is viable using currently available methods without causing unacceptable legal, social or environmental risks. The study will outline the methods, risks and costs of a range of options, from island wide eradication to the sustained management of feral cats in priority areas across the Island.
  • Working with the Bruny Island community to reduce the source of unwanted and stray cats and to achieve responsible pet cat ownership.

Learn more about Monitoring and Research on Bruny Island.

Learn more about how we are working with the Bruny Island Community.

See the #CatsonBruny videos.

The Bruny Island Cat Management Program is generously supported by many partners including:

 

For more information or feedback please don’t hesitate to contact our Cat Management Officer on phone (03) 6211 8255.