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Byron Shire
April 17, 2024

Controlling cats to save wildlife

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Is this your cat? A captured feral cat being checked for microchip identification. Photo credit: North Coast Local Land Services.

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 the productive 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. Owned and identified cats were returned to their owners and cats that had acceptable behaviour were rehomed.

Feral cats euthanised

‘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.

Stray cats

‘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.

‘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.’

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.


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  1. great article Echo, please keep the pressure on Cats as a regular piece !

    I have been trapping these buggers for years, absolutely devastating for our wildlife

    • When this continent collides with New Guinea, then Asia, what do you think it going to happen to the wild life if it has not had any exposure to predators? Introducing a few low grade predators gives them a chance to evolve so that they may have a chance when the inevitable happens.

  2. Are you saying cats are low grade predators along with the likes of foxes? Glad your not my science adviser Christian.
    Anyway need to keep trapping cats especially where people saying they don’t eat wildlife. My maremma is good at chasing cats after the birds I’ve encouraged by planting trees.

    • How would your dog do against a 100kg Thylacoleo(native lion), or the metre long crocodiles that used to roam our forests? How about a 3 metre tall carnivorous kangaroo? These are the predators the local wildlife evolved along side that only went extinct when humans invaded this continent. Introduced species such as dingoes and domestic cats can’t compare with the recently extincted super predators.


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