Two methods of monitoring cats at a landscape-scale.
Feral cats are difficult to manage and harder to monitor. We analyzed the cost and the efficacy of monitoring the pre- and post-bait abundance of feral cats via camera-traps or track counts using four years of data from the Matuwa Indigenous Protected Area. Additionally, we report on the recovery of the feral cat population and the efficacy of subsequent Eradicat® aerial baiting programs following 12 months of intensive feral cat control in 2019. Significantly fewer cats were captured in 2020 (n = 8) compared to 2019 (n = 126). Pre-baiting surveys for 2020 and 2021 suggested that the population of feral cats on Matuwa was very low, at 5.5 and 4.4 cats/100 km, respectively, which is well below our target threshold of 10 cats/100 km. Post-baiting surveys then recorded 3.6 and 3.0 cats/100 km, respectively, which still equates to a 35% and 32% reduction in cat activity. Track counts recorded significantly more feral cats than camera traps and were cheaper to implement. We recommend that at least two methods of monitoring cats be implemented to prevent erroneous conclusions.