feral cat research Hawaii
37th Annual Albert L. Tester Memorial Symposium
March 14-16, 2012
University of Hawaii Manoa
download pdf: UH Tester Symposium 2012 Program Abstracts
Alisa A. Davis
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
(Advisors: Christopher A. Lepczyk, Susan E. Crow, Clifford W. Morden)
Methods for detecting Toxoplasma gondii in Hawai‘i
Feral cats have flourished in urban areas of Hawai‘i due to the state’s favorable climate and people’s positive perception of cats. However, the presence of large numbers of feral cats has raised concern both in terms of predation of native species and as vectors for disease. One disease, in particular, that has aroused a great deal of attention is toxoplasmosis, caused by the coccidian parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Felids are the definitive host of T. gondii and concerns arise regarding transmission to humans due to the relationships people have with domestic cats (Felis catus). Another concern for Hawai‘i is that the parasite has infected endemic and endangered species, sometimes causing death to several critically endangered species. Toxoplasma gondii oocysts are shed by cats in their excrement and can persist in soil between one and four years. The presence of T. gondii at cat colony sites could be an important factor when making decisions for the management of feral cats found in urban areas in the state. Soil samples from cat colony sites at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa will be tested for T. gondii oocysts using a general framework that includes aggregate dispersion, floatation, and molecular identification methods. Though there are no standardized methods for detecting T. gondii in soil, this general framework has been used in several studies throughout the world. This presentation will focus on the specific methods used for this study and how they relate to the physical attributes of urban soils in Hawai‘i and T. gondii oocysts.
University of Hawaii SRS 2012 STUDENT RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
April 13-14 2012
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and College of Engineering (COE) 2012 Student Research Symposium.
download pdf: UHM CTAHR SRS 2012 Program Abstracts
(110) Methods for detecting Toxoplasma gondii in Hawai‘i.
Alisa Davis*, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Susan E. Crow, and Clifford W. Morden. Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Management and Botany.
Stray and outdoor cats (Felis catus) have flourished in Hawai‘i’s urban areas due to the state’s favorable climate and people’s positive perception of cats. However, the presence of large numbers of stray cats has raised concern both in terms of predation of native species and as vectors for zoonotic diseases. One disease, in particular, that has aroused a great deal of attention is toxoplasmosis, caused by the coccidian parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Felids are the definitive host of T. gondii and concerns arise regarding transmission to humans, other pets, and native wildlife. Toxoplasma gondii oocysts are shed via the cat’s excrement and can persist in soil between one and four years. The presence of T. gondii at cat colony sites could be an important factor when making decisions for the management of stray and colony cats found in urban areas in the state. The goal of this study was to detect T. gondii oocysts from soil samples and present management options for cat colonies on the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa campus. This presentation focuses on the specific methods used for this study and how they relate to the physical attributes of urban soils in Hawai‘i and T. gondii oocysts. Soil samples from cat colony sites at the university were tested for T. gondii oocysts using a general framework that includes aggregate dispersion, floatation, and molecular identification methods.
(117) Who wants feral cats in the Hawaiian Islands and why?
Cheryl Lohr* and Christopher Lepczyk. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management.
Feral house cats (Felis catus) are abundant in the Hawaiian Islands and pose a threat to native wildlife through predation and the spread of disease. A combination of factors including the submission of State bills and County resolutions has created the impression that a large segment of society supports the presence of feral cats in the islands and in-situ management techniques. The goal of this research was to quantify the perceptions and desires of Hawai‘i residents regarding the abundance of feral cats. In 2011 we disseminated a survey to approximately 5000 pre-identified wildlife stakeholders and a random sample of the general public. Approximately 46% of stakeholders and 20% of the general public responded to the survey with over 1500 returned questionnaires in total. Data were analyzed using the potential for conflict index (PCI) and Wildlife Stakeholder Acceptance Capacity (WSAC) models. PCI results reveal a strong consensus that the abundance of feral cats should be decreased. Despite this consensus, 12% of respondents would like to see populations of feral cats persist in the islands. Peoples’ desire to see the abundance of cats reduced was correlated (0.54) with whether or not people enjoyed seeing feral cats (84% of survey respondents dislike seeing feral cats). We also asked survey recipients if feral cats should be removed permanently or relocated away from areas with endangered wildlife: The majority of people (78%) support the idea of permanently removing feral cats, whereas 10% would prefer to see feral cats relocated away from the specified area, and a small proportion of people (3%) believe that feral cats that are being fed do not kill other animals. This research reveals that only a small segment of society supports the presence of feral cats in the islands which is likely to influence public policy regarding feral cats.
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In the summary above, Lohr and Lepczyk surveyed pre-identified wildlife stakeholders and random general public. In the summary below, Ward Research contracted by HSUS included focus groups and surveys of cat owners and caregivers.
Some of the related info previously shared offline by AnimalResources and on the Feral Cat Blog!:
Hawaii > Ward Research for Hawaiian Humane Society and CGAPS Invasive Species, HSUS too
Thu, Dec 29, 2011
In November the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) posted about their involvement in the Hawaii coalition to address issues of feral freeroaming cats and the findings from the HSUS contract with Ward Research.
HSUS > Wayne's Blog: Finding Common Ground—Outdoor Cats and Wildlife
download pdf: The HSUS and Hawaii Coalition for Protection of Cats and Wildlife
The McDowell/Burns/Lepczyk paper I e-mailed about on September 20, 2011 mentions Ward Research done in 2008 for Hawaiian Humane Society (and there was previous research.)
Ward Research also did research for CGAPS. This informative article outlines CGAPS invasive efforts from 1995 on:
Report to the Legislature on Efficacy of Public Outreach on Invasive Species
Submitted to Gov. Lingle’s Communications Office by request on 8/16/07 by Christy Martin, Public Information Officer, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit—Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, Honolulu, HI.
download pdf: http://www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org/cgaps/pdfs/cgapsreport20070816publicoutreach.pdf
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Some previous Feral Cat Blog! posts:
Feral Cat Blog! > Lepczyk posts - scroll down or use Edit/Find
Vertebrate Pest Conference March 2012 - Feral Cats - February 10, 2012
includes Cheryl Lohr and Alisa Davis feral cat presentations
Feral Cats in Hawaii - December 2006
USGS Hawaii Fact Sheet - April 2006