Feral Cat eradication on the Dudley Peninsula set to begin with launch of new projects

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Two new projects, The Safe Haven for Threatened Species Project and The Wildlife Detector Dogs Project, are set to begin the eradication of feral cats from the Dudley peninsula this June.

The two projects are supported by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

The Safe Haven for Threatened Species project, running over 4 years, will seek to eradicate Feral Cats from the Dudley peninsula creating a haven for many of the island’s threatened species, whilst the Wildlife Detector Dogs Project will train members of the community and their dogs to help detect and track feral cats within the safe haven area.

Feral Cat Team Leader at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, Venetia Bolwell, says that the safe haven project will build upon the research and trials undertaken by the feral cat program to develop a cohesive strategy for the eradication of feral cats from the peninsula.

“A great deal of work has been undertaken to discover the right blend of eradication tools that work on the island, this project will utilise those that work with the landscape and the community to create a safe haven free from cats. Said Ms Bolwell.

“From traditional cage traps through to the recently trialled Felixer™ grooming traps, there are a wide suite of tools available to us.”

“There are a number of endemic threatened species on KI that are preyed upon by feral cats, if we want to see their continued survival we need to eradicate feral cats from their habitat.”

The Safe Haven for Threatened Species project is currently underway and is being rolled out across the peninsula.

The Wildlife Detector Dogs Project will officially begin this month with the first community workshop inviting members of the public and their dogs to a two-day training workshop with world renowned canine training specialist, Steve Austin.

“It’s a fantastic idea of the KI Natural Resources Management Board to get the community involved with this training, it is critically important to KI’s wildlife to eradicate feral cats from the island landscape. Said Mr Austin.

“The training workshop will employ practices developed in programs and lectures I have given across Australia and around the World to develop the detection skills of dogs and techniques to help them track animals they have detected.

“Using both positive reinforcement and negative punishment (withholding rewards), the workshop will be fun for both owners and dogs with both benefitting.”

Both projects sit within the wider KI Feral Cat Eradication Program which is a joint initiative of Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (DEW and the KI NRM Board) and Kangaroo Island Council and is funded by the Australian Government with in-kind support from DEW.

Damian Miley, Regional Director of NRKI says the NRM Board is proud to be overseeing the eradication program.

“The KI NRM Board have a strong record of eradicating pest animals from the island and are very proud to oversee the eradication of feral cats from the island with the ongoing support from the community.” said Mr. Miley.

The workshop will be conducted over a two day period Sunday 30 June – Monday 1 July, places are limited so if interested please contact Venetia Bolwell, Feral Cat Team Leader on Venetia.Bolwell@sa.gov.au or ring 0429 459 024 to RSVP a place for you and your dog by no later than 26 June.

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