Feral and invasive species

 

Feral cats (Felis catus)

The domestic cat is a superb survivor.  Although they hitched a ride to this continent with humans initially, feral populations thrive and survive with no further help from people.

  • Prof Trish Fleming has been developing our understanding of feral and stray cat biology; she is currently working on:
    • Methods for ageing cats
    • Stray and feral cat survival and demographics
    • Quantifying cat bite force and prey taken

 

Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)

The introduced red fox  has established large populations across the Australian continent and are additive sources of pressure on the persistence of native species.

  • Sinead Allsop reviewed the evidence for bait resistance in invasive species, asking whether avoidance of baits or physiological toxin resistance could account for reduced efficiency of baiting programmes over time (Allsop et al. 2017)
  • Dr Shannon Dundas examined fox bait uptake in WA (Controlling fox populations; Dundas et al. 2014).
  • Dr Stuart Dawson collected evidence implicating foxes in predating oblong turtle nests: Oblong turtles  (Dawson et al 2014; Dawson et al 2016)
  • Prof Trish Fleming demonstrated that fox predation at an outdoor piggery accounted for a large proportion of deaths, and probably account for the 20% of piglets that went ‘missing’.  This work was presented at AWMS2015: Food subsidies for pest animals AWMS2015 poster and has been published (Fleming et al 2016).
  • Dr Narelle Dybing identified that helminth prevalence in red foxes was correlated with their environment (Dybing et al 2013).
  • See the media release regarding our collaboration with the Red Card for the Red Fox.

 

Feral pigs (Sus scrofa)

The feral pig  shows preference for riparian zones, where it roots through vegetation to find root and other plant material.  Their impacts on the environment can be devastating; as well as losing habitat for food and shelter, when they remove vegetation cover, feral pigs can also increase risk of predation for native species.

  • Dr Peter Adams has been quantifying the impact of feral pigs in jarrah forest water catchment sites.  Read more: PDF
  • Andrew Morton is examining the movement patterns of feral pigs in the Kimberley
  • Lara Osborne compared the properties of soil dug up by feral pigs with soil from the diggings of native animals.
  • Joe Porter identified diet of feral pigs from a mountain of stomach samples collected from culled animals.

See wWEB BLOGS on this topic

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