The State Government has strengthened measures to protect vulnerable and threatened native wildlife by declaring feral cats a pest animal in Western Australia.
The declaration will enable natural resource management and recognised biosecurity groups to control feral cats and complement cat control efforts by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions within State reserves and areas of high conservation value. Feral cat management programs implemented by Recognised Biosecurity Groups can be funded by the Declared Pest Rate, matched by State Government funding.
In Western Australia, 36 mammal, 22 bird and 11 reptile species are vulnerable to predation by feral cats, along with a wide range of other native animals that may be adversely affected by this pest.
Feral cats live and reproduce in the wild, surviving by hunting and scavenging.
The declaration is only for feral cats. Domestic cat owners can protect their cats by complying with the requirements of the Cat Act 2011, including registration, sterilisation and microchipping. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s feral cat policy incorporates strategies to minimise the impact of feral cat control activities on domestic and stray cats.
More information about feral cats as a declared pest is available from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s website at http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/pest-mammals/feral-cats
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“While I acknowledge feral cat control is an uncomfortable topic for many who are cat lovers, we have an obligation to protect our native wildlife.
“Feral cats kill approximately 272 million birds per year in Australia, as well as many mammals, frogs and reptiles.
“The declaration of feral cats in Western Australia supports the enormous effort by many organisations around the State to protect and recover our biodiversity and native fauna.”
As stated by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“Predation by feral cats is recognised as a key factor in the decline of multiple native mammal species, ground nesting birds and reptile species.
“Control of feral predators is a vital part of ensuring the survival of our native animals.
“This declaration supports the many conservation projects by DBCA and community groups, including the Western Shield wildlife recovery program which is working to protect WA’s native wildlife through the broadscale control of foxes and feral cats.”