Algar, D., & Johnston, M. (2010). Proposed management plan for cats and black rats on Christmas Island. Government of Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation.
Proposed management plan for cats and black rats on Christmas Island 1Report outline The impact of cats on the biodiversity of Christmas Island is of concern to land management agencies and the broader community. Domestic and stray cats reside in the residential, commercial and light industrial area while a population of feral cats exists across the rest of the island (i.e. mining lease, national park and other Crown land). Concern has been raised regarding the threat that all ‘classes’ of cats present to the viability of a number of endangered fauna populations. Additionally, previous research has demonstrated that the cats on the island also have a very high prevalence of Toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can lead to serious human health complications.The management of cats on the island is a complex task as reduction/eradication in cat numbers alone could lead to changes in the abundance of other exotic species populations, especially the introduced black rat which then may threaten wildlife species and also have disease implications.
Land management agencies on Christmas Island have commissioned this report which describes the rationale and development of a long-term cat and black rat management and eradication plan to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of cats and black rats across all land tenures (shire-managed lands, Crown land including mine leases and Christmas Island National Park).
The report provides a background to the threats and impacts of cats and black rats on the island’s natural and social environment, including wildlife predation and disease threats to wildlife and human health. It documents previous reports in relation to impact and management of cats and black rats on Christmas Island. The current local cat management laws (Shire of Christmas Island Local Law for the Keeping and Control of Cats 2004) under the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) (CI) are evaluated (see Appendix 1) with the aim of limiting domestic and stray cat impact on the iconic native fauna of Christmas Island, promoting responsible cat ownership, compliance and enforcement of cat management laws and measures required to implement a ‘last cat policy’ for the Island.
Cat and rodent eradication programs and strategies developed and/or implemented by other conservation agencies and local governments, particularly for islands are evaluated for their utility on Christmas Island. A strategy is recommended that provides a staged approach to cat and black rat management and control leading to eradication of one or both target species. Techniques, actions and priorities are described as are recommendations of where additional research is required. A monitoring program to measure the effectiveness of the strategy is reported which enables investigation of the potential relationships between cats and their invasive species prey, including rodents and centipedes, and strategies to address any negative environmental or social impacts of cat control. Monitoring requirements to maintain a cat and black rat free status including quarantine requirements to prevent, detect and quickly manage, new incursions are also discussed.
Timelines and resource requirements to undertake this program are provided in Appendix 2.