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A bait-suspension device for the control of feral cats

Algar, D., Brazell, R.I.
Wildlife research 2008 v.35 no.5 pp. 471-476
baits, cats, islands, nontarget organisms, poisoning, risk, threatened species, Australia
The use of poison baits is an effective method for controlling feral cats. However, take of baits by non-target animals may place those animals at risk of poisoning and also reduces the availability of baits to the target animal, feral cats. Therefore, techniques that reduce non-target take of baits are desirable. Earlier trials have suggested that suspending baits might prevent most non-target animals from removing the baits while maintaining their attractiveness and availability to feral cats. This paper assesses the efficacy of a bait-suspension device to provide a relatively simple means of controlling feral cats (across age and sex classes). In addition, it confirms the high target specificity of the bait-delivery mechanism on Australia's Christmas Island, where non-target species would have posed a problem with baits laid on the ground. The technique may have potential application on other islands where similar non-target species are threatened by baiting programs or at specific sites on the mainland where aerial or on-track deployment of feral cat baits may pose an unacceptable risk to non-target species.