Cats in Australia: ecology, impact, management

Date: 01, May, 2019
Author(s):   John Woinarski, Sarah Legge and Chris Dickman
Publisher: Wildlife Research

Invasive introduced species are a major cause of biodiversity decline globally. Many of the world’s most significant recent conservation successes arise from the resolute control of invasive species, with such management working most effectively when it is based on robust evidence about the ecology of the pest species. In this collection of papers, we highlight these inter-related issues – of impact, management and ecology – for the case of the introduced domestic cat Felis catus in Australia. At least from the early twentieth century, there has been concern about the impacts of cats upon Australia’s native wildlife. However, until recent decades, there has been limited knowledge of the ecology and impacts of cats in Australia, and hence of the need and mechanisms for their management. That situation has now changed markedly: the evidence base is now much more robust. Wildlife Research (and its predecessor Australian Wildlife Research) has been a major player in this expansion of knowledge, publishing at least 100 studies relating to cats, mostly in Australia. This virtual issue includes a complementary subset of those important studies, including some landmark contributions on the ecology, impacts and management of pet and feral cats in Australia. As a result of this research work, the management of cats in Australia is much more effective than ever before, and relative to many other parts of the world.