Feral cat working group formed

Driving a unified approach to the control of feral cats across Western Australia is the focus for a recently established Feral Cat Working Group. The aim is to make information on feral cat management easily available to facilitate a collaborative approach. The Group will also help guide the implementation of a new research program entitled “Increasing knowledge to mitigate cat impacts on biodiversity” led by the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute.

Feral cats were listed by the State Government in 2018 as a pest under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act. According to experts, cats are the single biggest threat to our native animals, killing more than 2.2 billion birds, reptiles and mammals across Australia every year.

The Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Agriculture and Food said she was thrilled to launch this community-led initiative to look at landscape scale options to protect WA’s biodiversity through effective feral cat management.

The working group is being chaired initially by former Western Australian Governor, Hon. Kerry Sanderson AC CVO, who is also Chair of the WA Parks Foundation.

“It’s important that we all work together to enhance the conservation of our native animals,” she said. “I look forward to leading a truly collaborative body that brings together diverse stakeholders so we can address agreed gaps in knowledge, improve knowledge sharing and enable the adoption of research findings to mitigate cat impacts.”

The Working Group was identified as a priority action at an expert panel workshop following the 2018 WA Feral Cat Symposium, run by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council. The Symposium bought together nearly 200 people from across Australia to tackle the complex issue of protecting WA’s native animals, through effective, humane feral cat control.

Representatives of the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, Bush Heritage Australia and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions have worked together to establish the Working Group.

The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute led a 12-month consultation process about the research required with stakeholders representing Indigenous ranger groups, community organisations, industry, government and science experts.