On May 31st Landcare SJ Staff and volunteers attended the Peel Harvey Catchment Councils Feral Cat Symposium.
The presentation list for the day was a subset of scientists and NRM Officers at the forefront of feral cat management and control.
The presentations were wide-ranging, informative and outlined innovations in the future of feral cat control.
Good news stories like the eradication of cats from Dirk Hartog Island. The final wily cat was caught using new grooming traps that scan nearby animals and release a toxic spray when a cat is identified.
There was the population growth of Australian native animals in the fenced off Newhaven, a 261Ha fenced sanctuary in the Great Sandy Desert created by the Australian wildlife conservancy. Unlike a zoo entering this sanctuary would be like entering the environment as it was before feral animal introduction, showing a desert crawling and hopping with native marsupials, birds, reptiles and mammals.
Future control options such as gene drive technology were presented. Gene drive technology is like using a pair of tiny scissors to remove genes and replace with genes that will pass along a desired trait, for example causing all offspring to be born male. A recent ABC article was published about gene drive technology.
There were also presentations by government representatives such as Sally Box the Threatened Species Commissioner, with a target of 2 million fewer cats by 20/20. As well as Andrew Reeves from the Wa Government revealing the addition of feral cats to the declared species list.
There was lots of Twitter activity with the #waferalcat18 hashtag trending across Australia.
Kristy Gregory, Project Officer for Landcare SJ says ” The WA Feral Cat Symposium was really interesting especially hearing about other on-ground projects happening in different areas. The structure of the day with the panels at the end of each session pulled all the presentations together superbly”