Developing strategies for effective feral cat management

A five-year study began in August 2019 to investigate strategies to effectively manage feral cats.

NSW Feral cat project - Feral cat sitting in front of camera trap

NSW Feral Cats: A project summary

With 1.4 billion native animals killed by feral cats each year in Australia, keen eyes are watching this Trust-funded project – as they are the current 2020 Federal Inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia.

Launched with an Environmental Trust Major projects grant of $14,683,125 to the University of New England in August 2019, Developing strategies for effective feral cat management aims to demonstrate effective, integrated management strategies across nine sites in north-east, south-east and western NSW.

What's happening 15 months in?

Find out in our Q&A update with project lead Dr Guy Ballard.

In January 2021, the project's on track to provide its next update, including highlights about feral cat detections – no mean feat, given the recent landscape of drought, summer bushfires of 2019-20 and COVID-19.

Huge threat to native animals

Feral cat predation is one of the biggest threats to Australian native animals. This project will significantly reduce the negative impacts of feral cats and aid the recovery of threatened native species at nine trial sites. It aims to:

  • refine existing cat-control techniques and test new control options
  • develop innovative online tools for monitoring, including automated individual feral cat identification algorithms
  • train practitioners and develop a predictive-decision tool for cat control
  • empower land managers by sharing information, lessons and ideas relating to feral cat management.

$30 million across 9 sites over 5 years

The University of New England is leading this ambitious project to manage Australia's destructive feral cats which involves more than $30 million of combined funding and in-kind contributions being invested over 5 years into wide-ranging research exploring ways to manage feral cats.

Made possible by the NSW Environmental Trust's grant, University of New England works in partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Local Land Services. The project is led by Dr Guy Ballard, who works for NSW Department of Primary Industries and University of New England.

The project's 9 sites – at least 20,000 hectares each – are set up across three different eco-regions, in the State's central west, south east NSW and the northern tablelands. Each region has 3 sites.

NSW Feral cat project eastern sites recovering after fire