16 November 2018
Work to monitor feral cat activity and native animal populations on French Island continues to yield positive results since it was established a few months ago. Part of a project to eradicate feral cats from the island, the work aims to establish the ‘baseline’ activity of feral cats and native wildlife populations, particularly ground-nesting birds, prior to undertaking intensive broad-scale control across the island.
Funded through the Australian Government’s Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner, the project team has now deployed sixty remote cameras across the island to help determine feral cat distribution and abundance.
The information these camera gather is critical to help plan for the island-wide eradication of feral cats over the next few years. Contractors Michael Johnston, Vaughn Thompson and Julie Trezise have been working tirelessly analysing the 500,000 images that have been collected to date.
The cameras also provide insights into some of the native wildlife that is found on French Island. Recent reviews of the images has identified recordings of Latham’s Snipe, Long-nosed Potoroo, Painted Button-quail and Swamp Harrier. It is expected that populations of these species will benefit from the feral cat eradication program.
As part of the project, a team led by Elizabeth Znidersic from Charles Sturt University has also been monitoring ground-nesting birds, including Australasian Bittern, King Quail and Lewin’s Rail, to determine their distribution and abundance on the island.
French Island supports a rich diversity of birds, with over 240 bird species recorded, many of which are vulnerable to predation by feral cats. The data will be used to estimate the level of impact that the feral cat population has on these species and their recovery after the cat’ eradication in the coming years,
The ground-nesting birds monitoring team have been delighted with the results to date, with analysis confirming the presence of Lewin’s Rail, Buff-banded Rails and Swamp Skink. A second survey is scheduled for early December 2018.
Indian Pea Fowl