Driving force behind removing feral cats from Dirk Hartog Island honoured

Media Release |

The man who has spearheaded efforts to reduce the impacts of feral cats in Western Australia has been recognised for his efforts with a national Froggatt award.

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements in Australia’s fight against environmental weeds, diseases and pest animals.

“Dr Dave Algar was the driving force behind the eradication of feral cats from Dirk Hartog Island and led the team that developed the ERADICAT bait, now used in Western Australia for feral cat control,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.

“Dr Algar’s work led to the removal of feral cats from Dirk Hartog Island, a national park in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, which was the largest successful feral cat eradication campaign for an island in the world and means all of Western Australia’s islands are now feral cat free.

“Feral cats were taking a horrendous toll on the wildlife of the 62,000 hectare Dirk Hartog Island, which had lost 10 of its 13 ground-dwelling mammal species due to predation by feral cats and the impacts of sheep and goats.

“The last feral cat was removed from the island in October 2016 and 46,000 km of monitoring and 114,684 camera trap nights have confirmed success, which was independently confirmed by Island Conservation in 2018.

“The island can now become a refuge for some of Western Australia’s most iconic threatened animals including woylies, dibblers, the chuditch and boodies.”

The western quoll is one of Western Australia’s iconic native animals that can now make a comeback on Dirk Hartog Island. Photo: Kimberley Page

ERADICAT is now being applied to control cats on the mainland to protect the last population of the western ground parrot in Cape Arid National Park and to protect a range of threatened mammals, including Western Australia’s mammal emblem the numbat, in dryandra woodland in the southwest of the state.

Dr Algar is a principal scientist at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and represents the Western Australian Government on the national feral cat taskforce.

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