French Island is set to become feral cat free under a community-driven plan to make the island a safe haven for wildlife by 2020.
Under a re-elected Turnbull Government, French Island will join Kangaroo Island, Bruny Island, Dirk Hartog Island and Christmas Island on the Australian Government’s list of five priority islands 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.
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.
French Island is Victoria’s largest island and is completely fox free, with 70 per cent of the island is declared as a national park.
Species such as the eastern barred bandicoot, eastern curlew, swift parrot, orange bellied parrot and hooded plover will benefit from this plan to make French Island a safe haven for wildlife.
The community is already working hard to tackle feral cats and, in partnership with Parks Victoria, has removed more than 850 feral cats over the last five years.
This ongoing commitment has reduced feral cat numbers to the point where eradication is now feasible.
The community is also supportive of feral cat management and measures to promote responsible pet ownership.
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.