Protecting Australian mammals from introduced cats and foxes: The current status and future growth of predator-free havens

Date: 23, Apr, 2019
Author(s):   Sarah Legge, Jeremy Ringma, Michael Bode, Jim Radford, John Woinarski, Nicki Mitchell, Brendan Wintle, Andrew A. Burbidge, Marcus Baseler, Joss Bentley, Peter Copley, Nicholas Dexter, Chris R. Dickman, Graeme Gillespie, Brydie Hill, Chris Johnson, John Kanowski, Peter Latch, Mike Letnic, Adrian Manning, Erin E. McCreless, Peter Menkhorst, Keith Morris, Katherine Moseby, Manda Page, Russell Palmer, David Pannell, Katherine Tuft
Publisher: TSR Hub

Many Australian mammal species are highly susceptible to predation by introduced cats (Felis catus) and European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). At least 34 Australian endemic mammal species have been made extinct since 1788, about 10% of Australia’s terrestrial mammal. Predation by introduced cats and foxes was a major contributor to most of those extinctions. The Australian mammal extinctions make up about one-third of all global mammal extinctions over the last ca. 500 years. Cats and foxes have also driven large distributional and population declines for many more surviving species. Cats now occur across the entire Australian mainland and Tasmania, and are present on many of the larger islands. Foxes occupy most of the mainland south of the tropics; they are absent from Tasmania but present on some other large islands off the southern half of the continent. Many native species that do persist are doing so tenuously, often reliant on ongoing intensive conservation management. Some mammal species have avoided extinction only because they happened to have populations on islands that remained free of cats and foxes.