Wildlife detector dogs and camera traps: a comparison of techniques for detecting feral cats.
A major challenge in controlling overabundant wildlife is monitoring their populations, particularly as they decline to very low density. Camera traps and wildlife detector dogs are increasingly being used for this purpose. We compared the cost-effectiveness of these two approaches for detecting feral cats (Felis catus) on two pastoral properties in Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand. One property was subject to intensive pest removal, while the other had no recent history of pest control. Camera traps and wildlife detector dogs detected cats at similar rates at both sites. The operating costs of each method were also comparable. We identify a number of advantages and disadvantages of each technique, and suggest priorities for further research.