A review of feral cat eradication on islands

  • Published source details Nogales M., Martin A., Tershy B.R., Donlan C.J., Witch D., Puerta N., Wood B. & Alonso J. (2004) A review of feral cat eradication on islands. Conservation Biology, 18, 310-319.


The introduction of cats Felis catus to oceanic islands has led to extinction or endangerment of many endemic insular species. As a result removal of feral cats in order to reduce predation pressure and conserve remnant populations of native fauna, although sometimes controversial, may be necessary to prevent further extinctions.

Feral cat eradication programmes were reviewed with the intention of providing information for future island conservation actions (Nogales et al. 2004).

Most successful eradications have been carried out in the last 30 years, the majority in the last decade. Globally, feral cats have been removed from at least 48 islands: 16 in Baja California (Mexico), 10 in New Zealand, 5 in Australia, 4 in the Pacific Ocean, 4 in Seychelles, 3 in the sub-Antarctic, 3 in Macaronesia (Atlantic Ocean), 2 in Mauritius and 1 in the Caribbean. Most of these islands (75%; n = 36) are small (less than or equal to 5 km²). The largest successful eradication took place on Marion Island (290 km²) but cats have only been successfully removed from 10 islands (21%) of greater than or equal to 10 km². Prior to eradication, on Cousine (Seychelles), cat density reached 243 cats/km², but on most islands densities did not exceed 79.2 cats/km² (n = 22; 81%). The most common methods used in successful eradication programmes were trapping and hunting (often with dogs; 91% from a total of 43 islands). Frequently, these methods were used together. Other methods included poisoning (1080; monofluoracetate in fish baits, n = 13; 31%), secondary poisoning from poisoned rats (n = 4; 10%), and introduction of viral disease (feline panleucopaenia; n = 2; 5%).

Nogales M., Martin A., Tershy B.R., Donlan C.J., Witch D., Puerta N., Wood B. & Alonso J. (2004) A review of feral cat eradication on islands. Conservation Biology, 18, 310-319.

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