Program tackling feral cats is continuing successfully at Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort
MT BULLER Mt Stirling Resort officers are continuing their fight against feral animals, with 170 cats caught in the last decade, along with foxes and other animals.
The program is part of on-going work to help protect the endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum and Broadtooth Rat populations, with RMB environment services manager, Louise Perrin, saying numbers have increased each year.
“We started trapping cats and baiting foxes 12 years ago,” she explained.
“We had video evidence that the cats were eating the possums and rats – we’ve got images of cats sitting in boulder fields waiting for the pygmy to come out so they can pounce.”
Taking out an average of 15 cats each year, Ms Perrin said the program was closely monitored and divided into three distinct stages of action.
“We always do an intensive trapping right before winter,” she said, “with another intensive trapping program just before the end of winter as well.
“In between, we opportunistically trap – where a camera might have picked up an image of a cat, we lay a trap.”
Since the program was introduced, the population of Mountain Pygmy Possums has significantly recovered.
Surprisingly, Ms Perrin said a large population of feral cats survived away from the main Mt Buller resort area.
“The young ones are more reliant on the village, but there are also plenty of cats living on the ski slopes and further out.
“They are very successful survivors – we have images of them from all over the resort.”
Although trapping continues through the winter months, Ms Perrin and her team will start laying more traps as the cold starts to wane.
“Up in this area, where we have critically endangered species, we can’t turn a blind eye to these feral animals – but we do treat them with respect as they are still an animal, and all are humanely euthanised.”
CAUGHT: A feral cat that was caught on Mount Stirling.
ON CAMERA: Mt Buller/Mt Stirling staff have set up motion sensor cameras across the resort to better learn where the cats frequent.