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Rapid recolonisation of feral cats following intensive culling in a semi-isolated context

Abstract : Invasive feral cats threaten biodiversity at a global scale. Mitigating feral cat impacts and reducing their populations has therefore become a global conservation priority, especially on islands housing high endemic biodiversity. The New Caledonian archipelago is a biodiversity hotspot showing outstanding terrestrial species richness and endemism. Feral cats prey upon at least 44 of its native vertebrate species, 20 of which are IUCN Red-listed threatened species. To test the feasibility and efficiency of culling, intensive culling was conducted in a peninsula of New Caledonia (25.6 km²) identified as a priority site for feral cat management. Live-trapping over 38 days on a 10.6 km² area extirpated 36 adult cats, an estimated 44% of the population. However, three months after culling, all indicators derived from camera-trapping (e.g.,abundance, minimum number of individuals and densities) suggest a return to pre-culling levels. Com- pensatory immigration appears to explain this unexpectedly rapid population recovery in a semi-isolated context. Since culling success does not guarantee a long-term effect, complementary methods like fenc- ing and innovative automated traps need to be used, in accordance with predation thresholds identified through modelling, to preserve island biodiversity. Testing general assumptions on cat management, this article contributes important insights into a challenging conservation issue for islands and biodiversity hotspots worldwide.
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https://hal-ephe.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03117185
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 4:24:43 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 1:42:49 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 6:11:05 PM

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Pauline Palmas, Raphaël Gouyet, Malik Oedin, Alexandre Millon, Jean-Jérôme Cassan, et al.. Rapid recolonisation of feral cats following intensive culling in a semi-isolated context. NeoBiota, Pensoft Publishers, 2020, 63, pp.177 - 200. ⟨10.3897/neobiota.63.58005⟩. ⟨hal-03117185⟩

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