An innovative feral cat mapping and reporting ‘app’ is helping land managers and communities tackle the ongoing issues caused by feral cats.
The ‘FeralCatScan’ app was launched in 2015 by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre to record and map real-time information about feral cat activity, to monitor their impact on native species.
According to Parks Victoria, feral cats have contributed to the extinction of more than 20 Australian native animals and are putting another 124 species at risk.
Department of the Environment Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews said despite Australia having large areas of protected habitat available for wildlife, native species are still under threat from feral cat predation.
“Every time we lose a native species, we lose a part of what makes Australia special.
“We need to know about feral cat movements and impacts, especially in reserves and national parks, in order to target our efforts in the most appropriate manner,” he said.
“We urge everyone to help us tackle this threat to the survival of our wildlife, by using the Feral Cat Scan app which is a simple and constructive way to help.”
The FeralCatScan app allows users to record the location of pest animals, record the problems they are causing and record control actions people may undertake.
The data is then submitted to the FeralScan community pest animal mapping website http://www.feralscan.org.au, to help develop and maintain an up-to-date picture of pest animals throughout a region. This information can also be used to monitor populations, and to better target pests through coordinated pest control programs.
The Australian Government contributed $45,000 towards the development of the new app and hopes it will help management efforts in high-conservation areas where cat predation is the most intrusive.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Environment and Education Manager, Alex MacDonald said the FeralCatScan App was a fantastic step forward in combatting the feral cat issue in Australia.
“The information collected from this app will provide valuable data for land managers and landowners to help develop effective management strategies.
“We will never be able to fully eradicate feral cats, but we can certainly take efforts to reduce the impacts on our native wildlife,” she said.
The app also offers offline options to allow it to be used in areas where mobile reception is limited or unreliable and it then stores the feral cat records until mobile coverage is available.
FeralCatScan is part of the FeralScan suite of app products free to download on the App Store for Apple iOS and Google Play for Android mobile devises.
For more information about the app, or to record feral cat activity online, visit www.feralcatscan.org.au