Fwd: [canberrabirds] Cats and wildlife - Background report - Responsible

Subject: Fwd: [canberrabirds] Cats and wildlife - Background report - Responsible pet ownership and the protection of wildlife: Options for improving the management of cats in the ACT
From: Kathryn Eyles <>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:37:04 +1000
the passage you have lifted from the report reflects the limitations of our knowledge. Any report to inform policy should present the current evidence but also the risks (in this case for vulnerable wildlife) of not taking action  i.e. adopting a precautionary approach as the justification for government policy/decisions. In the case of our unique and increasingly threatened woodland birds and reptiles, we in Canberra with some of the best remnant habitat also have a social and intergenerational responsibility to protect this habitat and dependent wildlife. As one of the authors, I would argue that not presenting all the evidence would be a bad look. 
Re Mulligans and Gorroo, there are efforts to manage and restore habitat across the landscape with work underway with private landholders in NSW - modest but positive steps. 
kind regards

Begin forwarded message:

From: David Rees <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Cats and wildlife - Background report - Responsible pet ownership and the protection of wildlife: Options for improving the management of cats in the ACT
Date: 30 August 2014 12:19:56 pm AEST

Thank you Kathyn.  I think the below taken from the above report bears me out - the real science still needs to be done and would be useful.   As a biologist who has spend all his professional life working on pest control issues I would always ask three questions based on an observation relating to such as a matter in order to work out how to act.  These are 'presence', 'significance' and 'importance'.  In this case do cats eat native wildlife - answer yes.  Does this predation have a statistically significant effect - possible answer - maybe sometimes maybe not, it would be nice to know when/where/how it is.  Is it important relative to other things - e.g. habitat quality ???????.   One or one and a bit 'yes' needs a different response from three 'yes' answers in my book.  If we were to ask the same questions re foxes and small mammals in southern Australia  I think we would all agree that three yes answers would be the result.

"There is scant empirical evidence about the level or significance of impact of cats on 
populations of specific prey wildlife (Dickman 1996; DEWHA 2008). Only a handful of 
Australian studies have assessed the impacts on prey species and small mammals in 
particular (Dufty 1994; Scott et al. 1999; Banks 2004; Lilith 2007). Lilith studied cat
predation of native mammals in bushland reserves adjoining urban subdivisions in 
Perth. She found that habitat quality was the main determinant of the richness, diversity 
and number of small native mammals, not predation by domestic cats. "

Not a good look in a report used to recommend/justify Government policy. Wonder if the Government lawyers have read it?

Re habitat quality in new suburbs,  I wonder what the percentage roof and hard surface cover of ground is as a percentage of total, relative to older suburbs, even ones planned/built 10 years ago. How much cover (decent gardens etc.) will be available for wildlife, away from drainage lines, where the government has done an imaginative job.  Crace and Forde come to mind - jam packed megahousing on small blocks, Wright and Coombs look no better. Even the 'green' grass may be artificial.  I wonder where will the habitat quality be for even common species in these places, after all we can all feel good about containing the cats - which as I have said before I support for other reasons.

Another thing which I have mentioned before and I wonder if anyone has thought of is tightening up the building code to prevent roof nesting birds - e.g. starlings.

Another thing about Mulligans and Goorooyaroo is that both border a place called NSW.  Look over the fence and what do you see - flogged farmland now producing not much in particular.  What happens there is important to relatively mobile species such as woodland birds, where ACT birds are but a small part of a larger population across a wider landscape. 


On Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 9:58 PM, Kathryn Eyles <> wrote:
Dear bird-listers 

You may wish to download the following report about cat management and wildlife protection in the ACT. The report makes a series of recommendations for reform in the ACT and draws on three key sources of information:  
  1. a comparison of domestic cat regulations, education and compliance programs in each state/territory;

  2. a survey of community attitudes towards cat ownership and management controls in the ACT; and

  3. ecological studies highlighting predation risks for the ACT’s woodland and grassland wildlife species. 


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