May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz

May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz

Late autumn, winter, and early spring are the most productive times on Kangaroo Island for trapping feral cats.

In preparation for this highly productive period, the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board (KILB) has spent the summer months installing more cage traps and fitting traps with improved monitoring technology across all of the Dudley Peninsula in preparation for the largest trapping program to date.

Having traps connected to this technology, which alerts the team when a trap is triggered, has improved the program's efficiency by more than 70%, as only triggered traps need to be checked. This allows us to open more traps, covering much larger areas with less staff and to focus on using other specialist control tools to remove harder-to-trap feral cats.

This update outlines how advanced technology is being used to detect, trap and ultimately eradicate feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula, the team's activities over the coming months and how you can participate in the program.

Feral cats are a major threat to the island's endemic native animals and many species that are threatened on the mainland. Feral cats also spread livestock diseases, Sarcocystis and Toxoplasmosis, that impact the Kangaroo Island sheep industry.


The winter program has just started, with all traps opened across the Dudley.

In the first seven nights of trapping this season, the team has removed 65 feral cats across the Dudley Peninsula and Pelican Lagoon isthmus.

Trapping will continue through until mid to late spring when temperatures warm and cage traps become less effective.

We will then change the focus to applying tools and techniques that are more effective during the warmer months, including soft jaw leg hold traps, Felixer grooming traps, shooting using thermal optics at night and trained cat detection dogs.

We are also working with many Dudley landholders who are participating in an Agriculture Kangaroo Island (AGKI) supported community trapping program over the productive winter period, which will increase the overall trap effort at this critical time.

As feral cat numbers decline across the Dudley, we are encouraging the community to report cat sightings. Rapid reporting will allow our team to target these cats using various tools depending on the circumstances.

This level of effort to reduce feral cat numbers will be unprecedented for the Dudley Peninsula. It signifies how technology has vastly increased our ability to eradicate feral cats at much larger scales in just a few short years.

May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz
KILB Feral Cat Program Leader Paul Jennings with a trap fitted with real-time monitoring technology located on Willson River Road at Porky Flat.


The use of 4G-linked wildlife cameras has increased the efficiency of the feral cat eradication program. Images are now sent in near real-time to the cloud for processing using artifical intelligence (AI).

Connected cameras have saved the team thousands of field hours spent retrieving and downloading SD cards, which is helping us focus on the important task of eradicating feral cats.

May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz

There are now 243 (green dots) 4G cameras across the Dudley Peninsula, this number will increase to 300 (orange dots) by the end of May 2024. On the Dudley Peninsula the average feral cat home range is 3.72 km2, our cameras will be spaced 1.5 km apart, meaning that multiple cameras will overlap with a feral cats movement.

This level of coverage means we have a high chance of detecting feral cats, even at very low numbers, it also increases our chances of detecting other species of interest like the southern brown bandicoot (populations of which have declined significantly across the Dudley compared to other parts of the island).


AI image recognition software has completely transformed the feral cat eradication program.

In the past, the manual task of sorting through tens, often hundreds of thousands, of images to identify feral cats was not only an inefficient use of the team's time but also meant the information was often weeks or months old. For the last three years, we have used eVorta AI software to process our images, continually training and improving it’s performance.

The next step for the program is to train the software to recognise individual cats. This would enable us to track the individual movement patterns of feral cats to inform how we can then target that individual quickly and effectively.

Identifying individuals will also provide us with another critical piece of information, allowing us to estimate the number of cats that remain on the Dudley as control intensifies over the winter period and we move towards eradication in the future.


Adopting Encounter Solutions trap monitoring technology, called “Celium” has been a game changer for the program. This technology has been used by the KILB over the past two years with huge success and is the largest network of it’s type in Australia.

It now connects 490 cages and 110 soft jaw-leg holdtraps across the Dudley. We will increase this number significantly in the lead-up to winter and through partnering with landholders to deliver the community trapping program.

May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz
Cage traps (left) fitted with Celium sensors ready for deployment and a Celium hub (right) which communicates with trap sensors and reports status.
May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz
The Celium cage trap network across the Dudley Peninsula that was opened on 29 April 2024.

Celium improves the efficiency of large scale trapping programs by transmitting trap status (triggered or open) in real-time, minimising trap visits.

This means our team only has to attend to triggered traps and as we know which traps are triggered we can prioritise checks, improving welfare outcomes for trapped animals, better manage health and safety risks, and reduce the overall cost of trapping programs.


Last year, KILB with support from Agriculture Kangaroo Island (AgKI), the peak body for primary producers on KI, ran an Australian-first, landholder feral cat trapping blitz using Celium trap monitoring technology.

Cage trapping is labour-intensive and time-consuming and landholders often do not have the time to undertake intensive trapping for sustained periods. Using Celium technology helped landholders to manage traps more efficiently.

Stokes Bay was chosen for this trial as it is an eager, close-knit community that had noticed an increase in feral cat sightings post-fire and was keen to build its capacity to address the issue.

Over eight-weeks and 13,000 trap sets, 19 landholders helped to remove 259 feral cats from an area of more than 20,000 ha.

The success and learnings from the Stokes Bay program was used to shape this year's winter Feral Cat Blitz on the Dudley Peninsula.

This year we aim to work with 30 to 40 landholders on the Dudley to trap using Celium supported via an application, which will enable them to track their results in real-time.

May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz
KILB feral cat eradication team member Chantelle Geissler is working with landholders across the Dudley Peninsula and Pelican Lagoon isthmus to set traps they can monitor in real-time on their properties on their mobile phones via the application.

Support for landholders will focus on trap placement and how to use the technology. Trapping will be concentrated around dwellings, sheds, and other resource points such as farm dumps, which are frequently visited by feral cats.

The app will allow landholders to view the status of their traps and the broader network of traps across the Dudley to see how their efforts contribute to the whole program as it progresses over the winter.

If you are a landholder on the Dudley Peninsula and would like to participate in trapping on your property, please call our team member Chantelle Geissler on 0417 623 076 to register your interest.


A targeted shooting program started at the end of Aprilto remove known feral cats detected on 4G cameras. Cameras identify behaviour patterns, informing us which feral cats can be confidently targeted using this method.

Brenton Florence, an experienced marksman and feral animal control officer for the KILB, is leading this work. Brenton has extensive experience through previous feral goat, deer and pig eradication programs.

Brenton also has considerable expertise in targeting feral cats after using these techniques to retrieve collared feral cats earlier in the program. Employing this method now will help us refine it as feral cat densities decline across the Dudley.

Using thermal binoculars and drones will also allow us to search large areas for feral cats, particularly in agricultural landscapes and along the southern coastline where vegetation has sparse canopy cover.

These activities will only operate with landowner consent.


May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz

There are two trained and certified feral cat dogs on the island, with a third puppy recently purchased and undergoing training, ready for next winter. These dogs are of the Blue-tick Racoon Hound breed that naturally trails and bays its target species.

This method will target known feral cats which have been detected on camera. It will also be an extremely effective tool as the program progresses to search large areas thought to be free of feral cats, locating those which have gone undetected or to confirm that the area is clear.

There is strong landholder support for this technique, given their experiences with working dogs. Detection dogs are target specific and are not distracted by livestock or native fauna. We will hold demonstration sessions with interested landholders in the lead up to using detection dogs.

If you are interested in attending information sessions and learning more about how the dogs will be deployed in feral cat eradication, please call us on 8553 2476 to register your interest.


Cage traps represent the primary control tool for the eradication program. They are typically most effective in winter, when less prey is available to feral cats and they freely scavenge.

Cage traps have been placed at strategic locations across the Dudley to increase our encounter rates and to improve efficiency in checking and re-baiting. Cages are often set along roadsides, as feral cats frequently travel along them and also use them to scavenge roadkill carcasses when prey availability is lower. Cages are also put on private properties and in conservation parks at track intersections, edges of vegetation, and alongside wildlife corridors and trails.

Soft-jaw leg hold traps have been essential for successful feral cat eradication on islands worldwide. Soft-jaw traps do not close fully and have a padded jaw. This means that the animal is trapped but not harmed. KILB is approved to use this tool and they are particularly effective for feral cats hesitant to enter cage traps, as they are more natural and rely on using scent to attract cats, such as cat urine, for this reason they are very target specific.

All soft-jaw leg-hold traps are now connected to Celium. This has allowed us to manage more traps across much larger areas, more efficiently and as a result led to the targeted removal of feral cats over summer, in locations and seasons where cage traps are less effective.

Soft-jaw leg hold traps where connected to the Cellium in January this year, removing 38 feral cats up to March 2024.

These traps have been used mostly in the southern woodland area, where feral cats seem to be at a higher density during the warmer months and have generally been cage-shy in the past.

The program also has five Felixer grooming traps currently deployed in the southern woodlands of the Dudley. The use of Felixers follows strict guidelines, ensuring they pose an extremely low risk and are target-specific.

The program is currently looking to replace its older Felixers with improved AI models that are set to improve cat detection and target specificity. Felixers are best suited for use in more remote and difficult-to-access locations as it does not need to be visited regularly like standard traps.


May 2024 Update - Feral Cat Blitz

We are extremely interested in your cat sightings/observations on the Dudley Peninsula or around Pelican Lagoon and Prospect Hill area. If you have seen a cat or evidence of a cat including, tracks, scats, kills or scavenging on roadkill or deceased livestock, please call or text the Feline Hotline.

Please report immediately or as soon as possible, for our team to follow-up. Your reports will become extremely important as we continue to reduce the cat population across the Dudley Peninsula. We would also like to know if you find a deceased cat, capture or euthanise a cat or cats. This information is critically important to the program as we are using remote cameras to identify individuals and understand movement patterns.

To make sure we are not looking for cats that have already been removed, we can match your cat/s with our known cat catalogue and have confidence that the cat is not still at large.

We thank community members who suggested a dedicated hotline for feral cat sightings.

As cat numbers reduce over winter community members on the Dudley Peninsula are encouraged to “Call in a Cat” via our “Feline Hotline” on 0459 952 830.


One of the questions we get asked regularly is why the traps have been closed over summer?

Cage traps for feral cats are most effective in winter when prey is scarce, feral cats are more likely to scavenge and their energy demands are higher. Summer is a particularly challenging time as we see the effectiveness of cage trap decline dramatically as soon as the weather warms up in spring, all the way through to late autumn, when the weather cools and becomes wetter.

An abundance of live prey means feral cats are less likely to enter a cage trap for an easy feed. This is also a time when goannas are most active and we spend a lot of time clearing traps that have been triggered by them. Warmer weather also means that baits spoil quicker and ant and blowfly activity is high making baits less palatable for feral cats.

As a result, during the summer we moved away from cage traps and focused on other proven techniques such as soft-jaw leg hold traps. These traps are very target specific and have proven to be highly effective throughout the year and in particular over the warmer months when cage traps have proven to be less effective.

The reason these traps are so target specific is that they use cat scent, in this case urine, to attract other feral cats. They are also set in a way that appears completely natural, which has caught even the most cautious feral cat. Our staff have many years’ experience in using these traps all around Australia and we are very fortunate to have this extensive knowledge now being applied to the eradication program.


All in all it’s shaping up to be a huge winter program and we are committed to sharing the results of these efforts in spring, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the KI Feral Cat Program on our website.

We are very grateful for the support and advice we receive from community members.

Please contact us either via the Feline Hotline or if you would like to speak to one of the team please call the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board on 8553 2476 with any enquiries and we will get back to you.