KI Feral Cat Eradication Program
On this page:
- Why eradicate feral cats?
- What makes this so exciting?
- How are we eradicating feral cats?
- Have you seen a feral cat recently?
- Feral cat proof fence to assist eradication
- Bandicoot sightings!
- Please help us continue our work
- Responsible (domestic) cat ownership
- Encouraging native predators to replace feral cats
- Thank you to our supporters
The aim of the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program is to eradicate feral cats from Kangaroo Island. The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board (the Board) is committed to removing feral cats from the whole of Kangaroo Island, starting with the 38,000 ha Dudley Peninsula on the eastern end of the island. Since the 2019-2020 bushfires, the Board has also been controlling feral cats in, and adjacent to, the fire scar on western Kangaroo Island, to reduce the predation of feral cats on recovering native animals.
A feral cat with a New Holland honeyeater.
Why eradicate feral cats?
Feral cat predation is a major threat to the Island's valuable and endemic native animals, many of which are threatened on mainland Australia, including the:
- Kangaroo Island dunnartSminthopsis griseoventer aitkeni also known as Sminthopsis fuliginosis aitkeni (Endangered)
- Kangaroo Island echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus (Endangered)
- Southern brown bandicoot Isoodon obesuelus (Endangered)
- Hooded plover (eastern) Thinornis rubricollis rubricollis (Vulnerable)
Feral cats also spread livestock diseases (Sarcocystis and Toxoplasmosis) that have a huge impact on primary production and profitability, causing substantial economic cost to the Kangaroo Island sheep industry.
For more information click here to watch a video which explains the detrimental impact feral cats are having on Kangaroo Island’s wildlife and primary industries.
A feral cat on the Dudley Peninsula with a southern brown bandicoot.
What makes this so exciting?
Should the eradication program succeed, Kangaroo Island will become the largest inhabited island to be free of feral cats — generating enormous benefits to the island's ecosystems and economy.
Eradicating feral cats from Kangaroo Island is a unique opportunity for Australia given its:
- border security (being an island)
- community support for both domestic cat management and feral cat eradication
- long history of feral cat management and research on the island to inform control techniques
- absence of foxes, wild dogs and rabbits from the island
- experience successfully eradicating feral goats and feral deer from the island
- supportive local government on domestic cat management.
Kangaroo Island joins Bruny Island, French Island, Christmas Island and Dirk Hartog Island on the Australian Government's list of five priority islands (announced June 2016) aiming to become feral cat free.
How are we eradicating feral cats?
In May 2020 the eradication of feral cats across the Dudley Peninsula began, starting from the very eastern end (at Cape Willoughby).
As the team progresses westward, permission is sought from landholders to access their land to control cats using a variety of techniques. A permission form outlines the methods we hope to use and the advantages of each. If you are on the Dudley Peninsula and would like to have a look at the control options we hope to use, or fill in the form in advance of us arriving near you, please let us know.
Control work is progressing across the Dudley Peninsula using a variety of techniques. Remote cameras are used throughout the Peninsula to detect feral cats and threatened species to direct control efforts. For more information please see the Dudley Peninsula Feral Cat Eradication Operations Plan: Summary 2021-2025.
As the eradication progresses we are gaining a much better understanding of which control techniques work best in which habitats (woodland, farmland, coastal etc.) and the effort required to remove feral cats from these areas.
We provide regular updates of our progress through:
- our Facebook page Feral Free Kangaroo Island which you can access here
- our feral cat newsletter Nine Lives which you can subscribe to here
- updates to participating landholders.
It is very important for us to know if feral cats are still present behind (to the east of) where we are working, so please check regularly and let us know asap via email (email@example.com) or by using the FeralCatScan app as quickly as possible after sighting (see section below).
Feral cat control staff checking a feral cat trap on the Dudley Peninsula.
Have you seen a feral cat recently?
Please let us know if you see a feral cat on the Dudley Peninsula. Please provide as much detail as you can about what you saw, when and where (as precisely as possible). This information will help us identify hot-spots for feral cats and solutions to the feral cat problem. You can send the information to us two ways either:
1. An app called the ‘Feral Cat Scan’ which has been created to help our community record sightings of feral cats anywhere on Kangaroo Island. You can record sightings, impacts (such as predation on native animals) or control activities in the Feral Cat Scan app. Please register your details and login to record feral cat activity in your local area. Please visit the website or download the FeralCatScan app.
2. Or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn more about trapping feral cats in your area, please download the feral cat trapping on KI brochure or watch this video with a step by step guide for trapping feral cats on Kangaroo Island.
A feral cat on the Dudley Peninsula.
Feral cat proof fence to assist eradication
After more than five years in the making, a feral cat proof fence has been built to separate the 38,000 ha Dudley Peninsula from the rest of Kangaroo Island. This 3 km long fence prevents feral cats from the western side of Kangaroo Island crossing into the Dudley Peninsula, where the active feral cat eradication program is occurring. It also provides a ‘hard edge’ for the feral cat eradication team to work towards as they systematically eradicate feral cats from the 384 km2 Dudley Peninsula.
This fence spans the narrow isthmus (a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas) of the island. It has two gaps for road egress. Sophisticated surveillance cameras are being developed with artificial intelligence, to detect feral cats in real time and send alerts to the eradication team when they approach the fence.
Feral cat proof fence separating the Dudley Peninsula from western Kangaroo Island to prevent feral cat movements.
As part of monitoring of native species across the Dudley Peninsula, the eradication team have been searching for southern brown bandicoots in places where they have been previously detected, as well as in new spots that have suitable bandicoot habitat. Although most previous locations do not appear to have bandicoots present, these marsupials have been detected in woodland on the southern Dudley Peninsula. If you have recently seen a bandicoot on the Dudley Peninsula, please email the location, number and any other details to email@example.com
An endangered southern brown bandicoot. (Image: National Parks and Wildlife South Australia)
Please help us continue our work
Help us to remove this invasive predator and secure a future for native species and KI’s livestock industry. Your contribution — no matter how big or small — will help us carry out this vital conservation work. Please donate to us using either of the methods below:
1. Donation to the Feral Cat Eradication Program Fund
Give a tax deductible donation into a fund established with our partners at the Nature Foundation to support the campaign to rid KI of feral cats. Visit the Nature Foundation website for more information.
All donations $2 and over are tax deductible.
You can also donate via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to:
Bank details: BSB: 105900 Account No: 963747240
Name: Nature Foundation
Description: (Your name and) FCEP
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to advise you have made an EFT.
2. Sponsor a remote 4G connected camera
Sponsoring a remote 4G camera will give you individualised live access to images of Kangaroo Island wildlife and feral cat detections. As the area cleared of feral cats expands across the Dudley Peninsula, the monitoring effort must also increasing dramatically. To remove this labour intensive but necessary part of the work, the team is now using 4G-connected, solar powered cameras coupled with a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence system, which sends real-time alerts whenever a feral cat walks in front of a camera. The team have estimated that just 25 of these cameras saves 40 days of staff time annually!
For a once-off sponsorship donation, you can help in the fight to remove feral cats from Kangaroo Island by adding a 4G camera to the array required as the feral cat-free area expands. As part of your sponsorship, you will also receive unique, real time access to photos of Kangaroo Island wildlife whenever you want!
To be able to monitor all 384 km2 of the Dudley Peninsula effectively, 200 are required. Click here for more information on our partner Nature Foundations donation page.
Thank you for your support!
A feral cat entering a trap on the Dudley Peninsula.
Responsible (domestic) cat ownership
Did you know that Kangaroo Island has the strictest laws relating to domestic cat ownership in Australia?
Since 2007 the KI Council has implemented strict by-laws governing the ownership of domestic cats. Cats on Kangaroo Island must be:
- contained to your premises (House) unless in a contained run
- restricted to no more than two cats per premises*.
A full version of the by-laws can be downloaded here.
*Registered cat breeders can be given permission from the Council to own more cats. Registration must be made with the Council on an annual basis. Registered catteries are also exempt.
Encouraging native predators to replace feral cats
As feral cats continue to be eradicated from the Dudley Peninsula, barn owls are being encouraged to take their place and prey on introduced mice and rats. A series of specially designed barn owl nest boxes are being erected across the Dudley Peninsula in the hope barn owls will take up residence and thrive, reducing mice and rat numbers in the process. The nest boxes are being erected in areas where hollow-bearing trees are quite scarce.
The nest boxes were built by the Kingscote Men’s Shed with funding from a Kangaroo Island Grassroots Grant, following an idea from a local landholder who was inspired by the Marna Banggara project on Yorke Peninsula. The Marna Banggara project has seen barn owls become a very productive predator for mice on farmland, in the absence of feral cats.
Solar-powered, 4G-connected cameras have been installed at each nest box to record the barn owls activities and breeding success. Images from the cameras are connected to an artificial intelligence system that sorts them ready for the team to view each morning. All nest boxes also have a perch on the front to provide a perfect stage for fledgings to gather and practice their flying techniques.
Encouraging barn owls to replace feral cats
Thank you to our supporters
This program could not occur without the support of many generous organisations and the KI community.
This program is supported by the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government, Government of South Australia, Ian Potter Foundation, Nature Foundation South Australia, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Fouress Foundation, University of Adelaide, Atkinson Livestock, Patagonia Foundation, eVorta and other public donations. The Department for Environment and Water, KI Council and Department of Primary Industries and Regions provide in-kind support to the program.
Project Leader - Feral cats
35 Dauncey Street Kingscote
+61 08 8553 2476