Eradication of Feral Cats (Felis catus) from Gabo Island, south-east Victoria


  • By Keith L. Twyford,

  • Peter G. Humphrey,

  • Ross P. Nunn,

  • Lawson Willoughby


Summary Concerns about the effects of predation by Feral Cats (Felis catus) on native fauna, particularly breeding seabirds, precipitated a decision in 1987 to control and eventually eradicate cats from Gabo Island. The size of the population prior to control was at least 30 animals. A control programme, undertaken between 1987 and 1991, centred on shooting, trapping and an extensive 1080 poison-baiting programme. Trapping and shooting were ineffectual. Poisoning was the most successful and effective technique for the rapid and widespread reduction in the Feral Cat population on Gabo Island. The effectiveness of dead 1-day-old chickens as a poison carrier was demonstrated. Effective poison baiting was attributed to bait selection and strategic timing of baiting to periods when prey was at low levels. Outcomes from the trapping programme and post-control monitoring strongly suggested that the cat population had been reduced to only two or three animals, possibly of the same sex. Monitoring between 1992 and 1998 failed to record any evidence of cats, indicating that the cats remaining after poison baiting had been unable to sustain a viable population. On the basis of the available evidence, Feral Cats appear to have been successfully eradicated from Gabo Island.