Protecting Australian mammals from introduced cats and foxes: The current status and future growth of predator-free havens
Date: 23, Apr, 2019
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.