News

Killer feral cats declared pest

By Country News

Feral cats have been declared a pest animal by the Victorian Government, with a code of practice set to be developed to manage numbers.

The announcement comes after research released in October last year revealed feral cats kill more than one million native Australian birds across the country each day.

The declaration applies to areas of Crown land, including land managed by DELWP and Parks Victoria, and Victoria’s four alpine resorts.

‘‘Feral cats have a devastating impact on our native species and it’s important we manage them properly — that’s what this declaration will enable,’’ Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

Feral cats will not be declared a pest animal on private land, meaning farmers and other private landholders will not be required to control feral cats.

Private land owners will still be able to manage cats roaming on their property in accordance with current laws.

Feral cats are a threat to some of Victoria’s most critically endangered native wildlife, including the mountain-pygmy possum, helmeted honeyeater, orange-bellied parrot and plains wanderer.

University of Melbourne researchers have also detected feral cats preying upon two nesting boxes containing critically endangered Leadbeater’s possums, with seven feral cats captured in 10 days.

Two of the cats were found to have remains of the possums in their stomachs.

Feral cats are also estimated to kill 466million reptiles in Australia every year.