Australian Government Springs into Action to Restore Kangaroo Island

Australian government plans to remove feral cats from Kangaroo Island within 15 years.

Kangaroo Island in Southern Australia is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Kangaroo Island Echidna, Kangaroo Island Dunnart, and Southern Emu Wren. These distinctive native Australian species have been struggling ever since feral cats invaded Kangaroo Island. Feral Cat Eradication Project Manager, Pat Hodgens, said:

Even in low numbers feral cats can have a devastating effect on native wildlife.

island conservation science kangaroo island southern brown bandicoot

Southern Brown Bandicoots are vulnerable to the impacts of invasive predators. Credit: Steve Duke Photography

The restoration team will be deploying a variety of methods in order to rescue the ecosystem from the threat of invasive predators. They will also be enacting “disease mitigation” strategies to prevent transmission of toxoplasmosis and sarcosporidiosis from the feral cats to other animals. Researchers will be collecting data and conducting DNA profiling on the feral cats to  better understand the impacts of invasive species on native wildlife.

The team is also engaging the local community to ensure long-term ecosystem vitality. Hodgens said:

We are working extremely closely with the Kangaroo Island council and the community to investigate a permit system whereby some pet owners are permitted to keep de-sexed and registered cats on their properties without them contributing to the feral cat population. It’s an ongoing discussion we need to have with our community.

island conservation southern emu sren

A Southern Emu-wren. Credit: David Cook

Th goal is for Kangaroo Island to become one of the world’s largest inhabited islands free of feral cats by 2030.

Featured photo: Kangaroo mother and joey on Kangaroo Island, Southern Australia. Credit: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr
Source: Australian Geographic

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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