WA Feral Cat Symposium – May 31st Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
Recent studies suggest that the Australian feral cat population fluctuates between 1.4 to 5.6 million. Astoundingly feral cats are responsible for killing more than 1 million birds, more than 1 million reptiles, and more than 1 million mammals in Australia EVERY DAY.
That’s more than 900 million native animals killed by feral cats every single year. This is according to Dr John Woinarski, a Professor at Charles Darwin University, Deputy Director of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, and a speaker at the Feral Cat Symposium in Mandurah on 31st May.
This event will bring the nation’s leading researchers, conservation groups, and government together to discuss this difficult but important issue.
This event has been made possible thanks to funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, and thanks to the following partners and sponsors: NRM WA, City of Mandurah, WA Biodiversity Science Institute, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Wheatbelt NRM, and the South West Catchments Council.
Numbats are Western Australia’s state mammal emblem and one of our most endearing small mammals.
Dryandra Woodland, located in the heart of the Peel-Harvey Catchment, is “home” to one of the only two remaining natural populations of numbats (Myrmecobius fasciatus) in the world. Unfortunately, numbats are easy prey for feral cats which are one of the key threats to their survival.
The Dryandra Woodland, is the single largest remnant of original vegetation in the western wheatbelt, and provides habitat for a wide range of native species. Scientists monitor the numbats in the forest. A network of cameras has shown that feral cats are responsible for past losses of numbats.
The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) supports efforts to restore the numbat population. A significant focus is working with farmers surrounding Dryandra to undertake feral cat control. Recent feedback has suggested more than 100 feral cats have been captured on private land in the district in the last 12-18 months, and there are many more cats! However, there are some encouraging signs and numbat numbers are stabilising which is a great result for the community, and the numbats.
The Feral Cat Symposium will highlight the impacts and share experiences from across Australia.
“There are many good examples of successful feral cat control programs operating across WA and elsewhere in Australia, and there are important lessons and techniques to be shared amongst practitioners.” said PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver.
The symposium will explore current experience and innovative future techniques for feral cat control.
The Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box will talk on the Australian Government’s perspective, and the importance of managing the threat of feral cats to a number of Threatened Species listed under Australian Government legislation. The Australian Government suggests that feral cats threaten the survival of over 100 native species in Australia, including WA’s bilby, bandicoot, bettong and numbat, and have caused the extinction of some ground-dwelling birds and small to medium-sized mammals.
Representatives from the State Government will talk about legislation and regulations which affect feral cat control in WA. With proposed changes to the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (BAM) Act, 2007, it is a good time to be discussing how this may affect future feral cat control efforts.
“We have been fortunate to obtain a number of prominent and leading experts involved in research and on-ground control of feral cats, and we strongly believe the calibre of presenters and panel members will result in a constructive and robust discussion giving audience members a fascinating insight into this important issue and leave the community better prepared to tackle the scourge of feral cats across WA”, said Andy Gulliver.
Early bird tickets for this event are available up until the 14th May. See website at www.waferalcatsymposium.com for event and registration details.
Media Contact: Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@old.peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800