Tracking a feral cat’s movements

1 August 2014

Late last year two cat-proof exclosures were completed in Kakadu National Park, to see whether native mammal numbers improve when predators are excluded. People are often sceptical about the impact of feral cats because it is rare to see them.

When the first exclosure fence was closed up, camera traps alerted us to the presence of a cat inside one of the exclosures. The photos show the camera trap images of the cat being caught inside a cage trap. Cats are notoriously difficult to catch in cage traps so we were lucky to catch this one.

A GPS radio-collar was fitted around its neck and the cat was released outside the exclosure so that we could see where it went over the next two months. Each dot on the map below represents the cat’s location recorded by a GPS.kapalga-cat-tracking_26-nov-22-jan_1

The cat remained within the area where it was caught, but did not get back inside the exclosure, so we know that the fence is working. The cat used an area of approximately 10km2 over the time it was tracked. Our permanent surveillance cameras have also photographed it several times. Another cat was also photographed outside the fence, so it’s good to know that native animals inside the fence are protected.

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