impact of cats on island biodiversity > diet and movement analysis
Recurring Feral Cat Blog! Note: All studies and journal articles need critical analysis.
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More from some familiar author names over years regarding impact of feral cats on islands. In Journal of Zoology.
Assessing the impact of introduced cats on island biodiversity by combining dietary and movement analysis
S. Hervías 1, 3,4 , *,
S. Oppel 2,
F. M. Medina 3,5,
T. Pipa 4,
A. Díez 4,
J. A. Ramos 6,
R. Ruiz de Ybáñez 1,
M. Nogales 3
1 Animal Health Department, Faculty of Veterinary, Regional Campus of International Excellence ‘Campus Mare Nostrum’, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
2 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), London, UK
3 Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC), La Laguna, Spain
4 Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), Lisboa, Portugal
5 Servicio de Medio Ambiente, Cabildo Insular de La Palma, La Palma, Spain
6 Department of Life Sciences, Marine and Environmental Research Center (IMAR/CMA), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Article first published online: 5 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Zoological Society of London
Hervías, S., Oppel, S., Medina, F. M., Pipa, T., Díez, A., Ramos, J. A., Ruiz de Ybáñez, R. and Nogales, M. (2013), Assessing the impact of introduced cats on island biodiversity by combining dietary and movement analysis. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12082
Keywords: feral cats; domestic cats; generalist predator; GPS; home-range size; prey availability; scat composition
Populations of feral (not owned by humans) and domestic cats Felis catus coexist in most inhabited islands, and they have similar impacts on native species. Feral cats are generally believed to vary their diet according to prey availability; however, no previous studies of diet have tested this hypothesis on insular ecosystems with a limited range of available prey. Because domestic cats kill prey independently of hunger, the spatial extent of their impact on wildlife will be influenced by home-range size. In this study, we combined dietary information with cat movements to assess the impacts of feral and domestic cats on island biodiversity. We quantified the diet of cats from scat samples collected across one year and tested whether diet varies by season. The abundance of main prey categories was also estimated to document seasonal variation in prey availability for cats. Finally, we tracked domestic cats by global positioning system units in all four seasons to examine whether home-range patterns varied seasonally. The diet of cats constituted three prey groups (rodents, birds and invertebrates), and the seasonal variation in consumption of each taxon matched the seasonal variation in prey availability, thus supporting the generalist behaviour of cats on oceanic islands. Roaming behaviour varied among individuals and across seasons, but could not be explained by availability of prey. Unconfined cats had larger home-ranges than confined cats, but most domestic cats strayed <1 km from home. Thus, confinement of domestic cats might reduce the spatial extent of cat impact on native prey populations on oceanic islands.