• cage trap;
  • cat;
  • eradication;
  • Felis catus;
  • leg-hold trap;
  • Macquarie Island


The feral Cat (Felis catus) population on Macquarie Island was targeted for eradication between 1996 and 2002, with 761 cats captured during this period. After 22 years of cat control from 1974 integrated with control programmes for other pests, effort intensified for 2 years before a dedicated eradication programme began in 1998. The primary knock-down for the eradication used cage trapping and shooting, with most surviving cats captured with leg-hold traps. A total of 6298 field days and 216 574 trap nights were recorded in this operation. Factors contributing to the success of the programme included extensive planning, increased staff numbers at critical times, better access to remote areas of the island, introduction of leg-hold traps, sufficient operational funding and good collaboration between government agencies operating on the island. The programme would have benefited from earlier deployment of detector dogs and better posteradication monitoring of a broader range of native species impacted by cats. The successful eradication of cats from Macquarie Island, being the second largest achieved to date, provides valuable experience for cat eradication attempts on other large remote islands. This programme relied on ground-based techniques with minimal use of poisons and provides possible options for sites where broad-scale poisoning, or where aerial distribution of poisons, cannot be used.