A recent trapping program coordinated by North Coast Local Land Services and Clarence Valley Council has seen the removal of 19 feral cats from sites around Grafton, reducing the threat to the survival of many native species in the area.
The control of feral predators on the North Coast is regarded as a key action to support the recovery of native wildlife populations after the 2019-2020 bushfires.
Senior Land Services Officer, North Coast Local Land Services, Tiffany Felton said the results of the trapping program have been fantastic thanks to a collaboration between North Coast Local Land Services and Clarence Valley Council staff.
‘During the trapping program cats were transferred to Clarence Valley Council’s animal shelter and checked for microchip identification,’ Ms Felton said.
‘Owned and identified cats were returned to their owners and cats that had acceptable behaviour were rehomed.
‘Most animal captures were feral cats that were euthanised in accordance with animal welfare standards.’
Feral cats are having a devastating impact on Australia’s native wildlife due to their exceptional hunting skills. More than one million birds are killed by cats every day in Australia.
Both domestic and feral cats are a significant threat to the survival of many native species including about 80 endangered and threatened small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
This project is supported by North Coast Local Land Services and Clarence Valley Council through funding from the Australian Government’s Bushfire recovery package for wildlife and their habitat.
Natural Resource Management Coordinator, Clarence Valley Council, Reece Luxton said the project provided an opportunity to learn more about the prevalence of stray and feral cats in the region.
‘Some stray cats with feral behaviour were being fed regularly by people on public land. These cats were not owned or cared for responsibly. These animals were known to be breeding in significant numbers at the site of capture which further increases the level of harm to local wildlife,’ Mr Luxton said.
To prevent cats killing native wildlife pet owners are encouraged to adopt responsible pet ownership guidelines.
These include registering your pet with your local Council, keeping your cat indoors or in a purpose-built enclosure, and desexing your cat as early as possible to prevent unwanted litters.
‘Responsibly cared for cats are also less likely to fight with other cats reducing both injury and stress,’ Ms Felton said.
If you encounter a stray or feral cat you are encouraged to contact your local animal shelter or Council and report it on the online tool FeralScan: https://www.feralscan.org.au/feralcatscan/default.aspx
Further information about this program is available by contacting Andy Vinter, Senior Land Services Officer, North Coast Local Land Services on 0447 194 848.