Draft Cat Management Plan

To: "" <>
Subject: Draft Cat Management Plan
From: Jenny Bounds <>
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2019 20:59:47 +0000

Great that this issue has generated an interest and discussion, I do hope some of you will take the time to lodge your views on the Plan for better control of cats.


I do agree that enforcement of domestic pets regulations etc is an issue, there does not seem to be enough resources for current enforcement.


Behind this cat plan, over many years, there has been a lot of fact gathering and research, including social research on people’s attitudes to environmental issues and control of domestic cats.


I asked the Conservation Council about the reference for the rosella number in their press release, apparently its come from another document.






From: Con Boekel [
Sent: Tuesday, 9 April 2019 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Draft Cat Management Plan



I agree.

Enforcement is one of the keys.

Has here been any at all?

I suggest that the comparisons include in-suburb and in adjacent reserves, looks at seasonal differences including comparative breeding success, and includes ground dwellers such as lizards.

Perhaps people who are making submissions of support in the link provided by Jenny could stress the need for both immediate action as a precaution and research to validate the precaution?





On 4/8/2019 10:42 PM, Chris Davey wrote:

Thanks Con. What I would like to know concerns the enforcement issue. Is the law working or has the cat containment issue gained legs because it feels like a good thing to do. I suspect that those suburbs that have cat containment are more likely to attract residents that agree with the idea but we still need information to compare the number of cats wandering around with those suburbs that have no restriction. If no difference in cat numbers then there is a law enforcement issue. If there is a difference and some measure of bird diversity/abundance shows no different, then cat containment is a waste of time.




From: Con Boekel
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Draft Cat Management Plan


Chris, David

I agree that we need data and we need science.

Ideally the ACT would have invested in this long ago.

But it has not.

We have some data on what happens when cats are eradicated from islands and it is reasonably clear from that data that cats do suppress wildlife up to, and including, forcing extinctions.

In relation to cats in urban locations and cats adjacent to nature reserves, the need for data and the need for science have been known for decades.

My view is that we need to act now as a precaution instead of waiting to get some data and waiting to get some science.

As noted below, 20,000 dwellings are being constructed in the Molongolo Valley and will mostly likely add around 7000 cats to the Valley.

Given that the Valley is known to be habitat for several of the ACT's threatened species it makes little sense allowing around 7000 cats a free run while data is being gathered and the science is being done.

If it subsequently turns out that 7000 cats would not materially impact wildlife, then containment might reasonably be reconsidered.

I therefore continue to urge people to support the Draft Cat Plan.




On 4/8/2019 9:17 PM, Chris Davey wrote:

David, although I am for cat containment I agree with you that it is about time some data were put on the table. A few suburbs have been cat contained for a while now so some facts on the efficacy of cat containment and of compliance should be gathered and made available.




From: David Rees
Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 5:48 PM
To: Con Boekel
Cc: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Draft Cat Management Plan




As I have said before the 'precautionary principle' is not good enough,  Australia is not allowed in international law to use it for dealing with new/potential biosecurity/ exotic pest incursions in trade for example.  The proper way is management based on 'risk assessment', for that you need data


They had and still have the chance to get plenty of data, with the pilot suburbs already cat contained, yet the ACT Government seems to have chosen to do nothing to date with data collection to see if containment has any measurable effect on fauna.  Are the streets/gardens of Forde crawling with skinks, with the legal cats contained, if so, we need to know and add that data to the argument...  There are plenty in my yard, mind you I could stop that with 'astroturf' as too many people locally do, rather than my mostly native garden with complex cover. 


I would support this proposal if there was decent data which demonstrated it had a useful effect, 'till then lets concentrate on conservation matters we know actually do something, like preserving, making and managing habitat.  Making a big section of the population  do something that will cost them money on a maybe (aka 'precautionary principle') without good data that shows a demonstrable benefit  is a potentially dangerous activity politically.  Could do the conservation effort locally a lot of harm, that effort is good by national standards, credit where its due. Trust in Governments various is not good right now, lets not blow it. 













On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 3:52 PM Con Boekel <> wrote:

Hi everyone

IMO the key is not more research.

We know enough to act on the basis of the precautionary principle.

We know that domestic cat density is much higher than 'natural' feral
cat densities.

Australia-wide there is (very) roughly a cat per every two-three households.

We know that domestic cats on the loose kill large numbers of everything
that is smaller than cats.

We know that cats travel extensively.

Exactly how many species and how many individuals of species cats kill
might be interesting to know but it is not necessary to know this in
order to apply the precautionary principle.

If you build a suburb and add a cat for every second or third house
along a reserve boundary, and cats commonly travel up to a kilometer a
night, then you are adding massive predation pressure to all the other
edge effects already degrading reserves.

We know that cats do not discriminate between common species and
endangered species. They kill anything.

And it not just birds. When our last Jacky died the neighbours' cats
moved in for a feast.

Within a short period of time they had eliminated skinks completely from
our garden.

Cats are an important part of our society: they provide interest, a
hobby, and very important companionship to many members of our society.

But cat ownership is a privilege and that privilege does not extend to
reducing neighborhood amenity with nocturnal yowling or killing valuable

IMO, the key is not more research.

Educating cat owners is a useful marginal activity but is just that:
marginal because many cat owners either don't want to know or don't care
what their cats kill.

The key is more action based on the precautionary principle.

And the key to this action is mandatory containment.

This allows for cat owners to exercise their privilege properly and with
the best regard to the needs and best health of the cats.

And, once containment areas are legally-mandated, then beyond the
contained areas, all cat management becomes feral cat management.

Finally, it is not enough to have a Plan. It needs to be implemented,
monitored and reported on once it is in place.

One bit of action we can all take is to ensure the ACT Government
receives a voice of support from each one of us for the Draft Plan.



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