Investigating feral cats in small mammal decline

Improving our understanding of the role of predators, specifically feral cats, in small mammal declines across northern Australia is critical to the development of effective management responses.

Building on a project commenced under NERP in 2013, the responses of small mammal populations to predator (cat and dingo/dog) exclusion were experimentally evaluated at sets of paired fenced and unfenced sites in Kakadu National Park. The densities of cats and dingoes were estimated in the surrounding landscape using camera traps, and their prey evaluated through scat analysis.  The findings are informing management responses to address mammal declines in Kakadu National Park specifically and northern Australia more generally.

  • Recommendations on the future of the exclosure experiment, and the longer term use of the exclosure assets within Kakadu National Park;
  • Publications on the effect of predator exclusion on native mammals in Kakadu National Park, as well as comparative diets of feral cats and dingoes;
  • Illustrated booklets/posters on the findings of the project disseminated to land managers and Indigenous groups;
  • Presentations to NRM forums and other public events.

This research took place in Kakadu National Park.

Kakadu National Park map

Graeme Gillespie (Project Leader, Northern Territory Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security).