feral cats and immigration (The Age)

Subject: feral cats and immigration (The Age)
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 17:39:53 +0800

I  confess that I have not fully read and considered every response to this topic.  But the extract below from "Jeremy O'Wheel" < >  seems to have a gaping hole to me.

It states that "...
feral cats are not recorded to have
impacted on any species of reptiles, amphibians, fish or
invertebrates".  Is my understanding of natural history wrong,
or does this not include mammals and birds which I think are
"vertebrates", and I am sure that there must be plenty of
studies to show the impact of feral cats on them???  Was the
"executive study" quoted by Jeremy deliberately misleading?

I would be very surprised if there are no studies to show the impact on reptiles.  In WA, there have been serious cat baiting trials in the Gibson Desert and at Lorna Glen Station NE of Wiluna conducted by DEC.  The primary aim of these trials was their effect on mammals, but I would be amazed if there were no conclusions also about reptiles.

When I worked at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the Kimberley of WA, it was obvious when there was a feral cat around the offices.  All the "ta ta lizards" (Gilbert's Dragons) disappeared or else you saw the cat pass by with one hanging out of its mouth.  Once the cat was eliminated the dragons would eventually return.  Surely there are studies to this effect?  This at least shows local decline / extinction.


This document, for example, tries to summarise the science:

>From the executive summary;

"In Australia, in contrast to other parts of the world, feral
cats are not
recorded to have impacted on any species of reptiles, amphibians, fish

But again I raise the issue of a fallacy of ignorance.  Because
there isn't
much evidence, it's difficult to say that cats do or do not have an
We know in some specific cases an impact can be seen, and we know in
specific cases we weren't able to find an impact.  We don't know
what the
general consequences are.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694              Email :


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