The Department of Industries have completed a tracking collar study on a feral cat they have named fang. The Daily Telegraph have published the details of the study that hunters will find interesting.
The 3yo 5kg tabby male feral cat was fitted with a tracking device back in July 2016. The device identified the lengths feral cats will travel to pursue our delicate native smorgasbord.
The feral covered an amazing 300kms devouring native lizards, birds and other small mammals.
But Fang is not alone ‚Äî the 5kg feral tabby’s accomplices include a 6.7kg male and another that has been sighted with a baby wallaby in its mouth.
Department Invasive Species Researcher Dr Guy Ballard said an analysis of the stomach contents of the feral cats had revealed a diet of native birds and lizards, although they had also been witnessed taking wallabies.
“We’ve seen a cat take a juvenile threatened bush tail wallaby ‚Äî just grabbed it and ran. Some of the cats we have seen are as big as foxes and they are eating everything from mammals to birds to reptiles,” Dr Ballard said.
The cats were not only devastating wildlife, but also roaming into farmland where there were serious concerns they could be spreading diseases, Dr Ballard said.
He said the tracking program had shown the feral cats roaming densely populated regions with some tracked for up 25sq km ‚Äî even overlapping into neighbouring cats’ turf. When a cat had finished in one area, it would establish a new home range up to 20km away.
“There are cats all over the place,” Dr Ballard said.
“If you think of the landscape as being tiled, each cat has a tile, and then (there) are overlapping tiles ‚Äî it is hard to find a place without cats.”
He said many of the cats came from domestic lines, although some had been wild for generations.
Trapping the cats is risky business, with the animals having to be sedated in order to be fitted with the tracking devices.
Despite taking part in a program to eradicate the pest, Dr Ballard said he respected the superior hunting skills that had enabled them to survive in the wild.
State Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the research would held the Government devise a “humane control program” to remove the threat the cats posed to native wildlife and livestock.
“Feral cats are broadly recognised as a major threat to the State’s native wildlife and this research program will assist with informing the best way to approach control techniques in NSW,” Mr Blair said.