There has been a dramatic decline of native animals across northern Australia over the past few decades, even in conservation reserves such as Kakadu National Park. The main causes of this decline are a mix of feral cats, inappropriate fire practices, and the destruction of habitats by introduced herbivores such as buffalo, cattle, horses, and donkeys.
A Northern Hub project investigating the impacts of feral cats in Kakadu has revealed that cats mostly prey on native mammals.
“Small and medium-sized mammals account for almost 75 per cent of the diet of feral cats in Kakadu, with both cats and dingoes preying on medium-sized mammals such as the Northern Brown Bandicoot”, Project Leader Graeme Gillespie, from the Northern Territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, explained. “Feral cats are also impacting the populations of small reptiles in savanna woodland habitats in the park.”
“We also calculated the density of feral cats in the Park at about one cat per five square kilometres, which is what’s been found in other areas of northern Australia”.
The project also saw two 64-hectare predator-proof enclosures constructed in the park. Due to low mammal densities at the beginning of the project, it was difficult to draw conclusions about whether excluding cats affects small mammal populations.
This work has informed a second Northern Hub project which is investigating more management options to bolster the recovery of threatened species in Kakadu National Park.
Hub researchers from CSIRO, James Cook University and the Queensland government have been in the field working with Indigenous rangers […]
Sustainable management and development of natural resources routinely includes economic valuation of the benefits that individuals gain from nature. But […]
Two Hub researchers presented their work at the Australian Society of Fish Biology 2017 conference in Albany, WA, which wrapped up on […]
Our Northern Hub Newsletter highlights what's going on in our research projects across northern Australia. It includes latest findings, what's coming up and what this all means for sustainable development and land and water management in the region. See the Hub Newsletter for more information.
The North Australia News Roundup is an informal monthly collation of news relevant to developing northern Australia. It aims to facilitate cross-sector and cross-region knowledge sharing, and more informed conversations and decisions about the future of the region!
Want to know more about Hub activities and the development of northern Australia? Stay informed of activities, research, publications, events and more through the North Australia News Roundup and Hub Newsletter.