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.
- Dr Narelle Dybing described the parasite load of feral cats for her PhD. Understanding which parasites these animals have will allow us to assess their role in disease transmission. You can find out more about Narelle’s work:
- The impact of parasites of feral cats and black rats on Christmas Island
- The presence of Leptospira on Christmas Island
- Feral cats as vectors of Bartonella
- Feral cats as vectors of trypanosoma and leishmania
- Feral cats as vectors of Leptospira; this work has also appeared in the media including ABC
- Helminth parasites of feral cats and black rats on Christmas Island
- Narelle presented her research at the Western Australian finals of FameLab 2017
- Dr Heather Crawford examined aspects of the management of pet and stray cats for her PhD. Read more about:
- Adoption of stray cats
- Ultrasonic deterrents reduce nuisance cat activity
- Early age desexing
- Why trap-Neuter-Release is not an ethical management option; and response to this paper
- Diet of stray cats
- 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.