Long-distance movements of feral cats in semi-arid South Australia and implications for conservation management.
To efficiently control invasive animals, it is vital to have knowledge about their behaviour, their movements and how they use the landscape. Unusual behaviour is normally excluded from datasets, as it is considered to be an outlier that may distort analyses. In our study, we present movement data from feral cats in the arid and semi-arid zones of Australia. Feral cats are a serious problem to the native wildlife of Australia and in many parts of the world. Cats are known to show fidelity to geographic areas and may defend them against other cats. Until now, research has focused on these areas, home ranges or territories, that feral cats need to survive and reproduce. We argue that a part of their movement behaviour, large journeys away from the area they normally use, has been overlooked and has been considered to be unusual behaviour. We explain why we think that this is the case and present examples from other studies additional to our data set to show that these long-distance movements are a regular occurrence. To achieve a better protection of native wildlife from predation by feral cats, we believe that these long-distance movements should be considered as part of the normal behaviour of feral cats when planning cat control operations.