To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Cats
From: David Clark <>
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2013 22:18:22 +1000
I am currently travelling through northwestern Queensland and I have been
surprised at the number of feral cats scavenging around campsites, crossing
roads in broad daylight and feeding on roadkill.

My first response was to bemoan the increase in the population of feral
cats and to wonder about what damage they are doing to native fauna.
However, the situation is not that simple.

There has been no wet season for the past two years and the seed bearing
plants haven't produced seeds.  This has had a dramatic impact on the
numbers of seed eaters, particularly finches and small rodents.  The latter
are the main prey of feral cats and, in their absence, the cats are
starving.  There is not an increase in the feral cat population; the
starving survivors are congregating where they may find food and are more
visible to the casual observer than they are in normal conditions.

I'm not saying that feral cats aren't a problem but, in terms of impact on
native animals, they come in well behind the Cane Toad.  Goannas used to be
common in the area through which I am travelling but not anymore.  Olive
Pythons are absent from most of their range.  A dead Freshwater Crocodile
floating down the creek two days ago was most likely a victim of Cane Toad
poison.  The Kites are back, and have presumably learned to avoid Cane

There is a lot of local concern about feral cats and many of the north
Queensland shires offer a bounty on cats' tails.  While that may put some
money into the pockets of local people, it won't really address the problem
and I'm not sure that Governments are prepared to invest the money
necessary to control feral cats, Cane Toads, feral pigs, feral camels,
feral goats, feral dogs, Common Mynas, etc, etc.



On Sat, Jul 6, 2013 at 6:21 PM, Peter Morgan <> wrote:

> We felt sickened when we found a large ginger tabby curled up in what we
> presume is a Letter-wing Kite nest in the tree where we found a family of 2
> adults and 2 young last year in SA.  Bev got one poor photo, but the cat
> scooted down and out of the tree as she approached to get better shots.
> We have seen more cats on this trip through NSW, Qld, and SA than ever
> before.  Today, we watched a large grey cat stalking a huge mob of Little
> Corella feeding on the ground just after we came out of Sturt NP on our way
> to Tibboburra.
> Throughout the trip, we have had many locals, some from the grazing
> industry, bemoaning the number of cats and the damage they are doing.  One
> suggested that explosion of bush rats in western Qld in 2011 led to an
> increase in cats that lives on to this day.
> Peter and Bev Morgan
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