Animals, Vol. 13, Pages 1711: Spatial and Temporal Movements of Free-Roaming Cats and Wildlife in Two Local Government Areas in Greater Sydney, Australia

JournalFeeds

Animals, Vol. 13, Pages 1711: Spatial and Temporal Movements of Free-Roaming Cats and Wildlife in Two Local Government Areas in Greater Sydney, Australia

Animals doi: 10.3390/ani13101711

Authors:
Isabella J. L. Davey
Mark E. Westman
Dominique Van der Saag
Gemma C. Ma
Brooke P. A. Kennedy

Free-roaming cats pose a risk to their own health and welfare, as well as to the health and welfare of wildlife and humans. This study aimed to monitor and quantify area-specific free-roaming cat movement. Two local government areas (LGAs) in Greater Sydney were included, Campbelltown (CT) and the Blue Mountains (BM). Motion-capture cameras were installed on 100 volunteer properties (50 per LGA) to indirectly capture animal movements over two months. Transect drives were completed eight times (four per LGA) to directly observe roaming cats in residential areas. The cameras and transects both identified higher free-roaming cat numbers in CT (density of 0.31 cats per ha, resulting in an estimated abundance of 361 cats in the 1604 ha of residential area) than the BM (density of 0.21 cats per ha, resulting in an estimated abundance of 3365 cats in the 10,000 ha of residential area). More wildlife events were captured in the BM (total = 5580) than CT (total = 2697). However, there was no significant difference between CT and the BM for cat events (p = 0.11) or wildlife events (p = 0.32) observed via the cameras. Temporally, cats were observed via the cameras throughout the entire day with peaks at 9:30 am and 8:00 pm in the BM, and 7:00 am and 12:00 pm in CT. Overlaps in activity times were recorded for free-roaming cats with bandicoots (BM), possums (BM), and small mammals (BM and CT). This study demonstrates that camera monitoring on private property and transect drives are useful methods to quantify free-roaming cat abundance to inform cat management interventions.

MDPI Publishing. Click here to Read More