Kangaroo Island is set to become one of the world’s largest inhabited islands free of feral cats under a community-driven plan to make the island a safe haven for wildlife by 2020.
Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, and the Federal Member for Mayo, Jamie Briggs, made the announcement in Adelaide today.
Under a re-elected Turnbull Government, funding of $500,000 will be provided to the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board to kickstart on-ground action to tackle feral cats.
“This will include a trial of control techniques including detector dogs and ‘grooming’ traps, which use sensors to detect feral cats and spray a toxic gel onto their fur. The humane culling of feral cats will give threatened species such as the Kangaroo Island dunnart space to recover,” Minister Hunt said.
Kangaroo Island joins Bruny Island, French Island, Dirk Hartog Island and Christmas Island on the Australian Government’s list of five priority islands – announced today – aiming to become feral cat free by 2020.
“Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy, which I launched last year, committed to establishing five feral cat free islands within five years. Today I am pleased to announce the five islands and communities that the Australian Government will be working with on this ambitious plan,” Minister Hunt said.
“Each of these spectacular ‘island arks’ is home to nationally-threatened species, many of which are falling prey to feral cats. They are also home to communities that are passionate about their wildlife and willing to champion the cause of native species.”
“Feral cats have directly contributed to the extinction of more than 20 mammals since first arriving in Australia, and they continue to wreak havoc. They pose a threat to around a third of our threatened mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds. We need new tools, approaches and partnerships to limit their impact.”
Mr Briggs said he was delighted that the Australian Government was partnering with Kangaroo Island on feral cat eradication.
“This can only enhance Kangaroo Island’s clean, green reputation. Creating a haven for native wildlife will give the island a clear point of difference and add significantly to its attraction as a tourist destination,” Mr Briggs said.