Feral cats and foxes at Mornington-Marion Downs

Feral cats and foxes at Mornington-Marion Downs

There are no foxes at Mornington-Marion Downs, making cats the major threat in the area. The population of feral cats here is estimated at around 1,200.

Across Australia, feral cats are killing tens of millions of native animals every night.  At this point in time, there is no effective mechanism for eradicating cats at a landscape level. 

However, at Mornington-Marion Downs, AWC is leading the way in developing a strategy for limiting their impact:

  • We protect ground cover by controlling feral herbivores and delivering effective fire management – this limits the impact of feral cats by ensuring native animals have more cover and easier access to food.
  • We protect dingo populations because dingoes influence the behaviour of feral cats by harassing and sometimes killing them.
  • We are undertaking Australia’s largest feral cat research program in an attempt to unlock the secret to eradicating feral cats.
    • AWC has collared more than 40 cats with GPS tracking devices at Mornington-Marion Downs which has provided an in-depth understanding of their ecology and impacts.
    • We have developed the largest and most advanced monitoring program to more accurately measure cat densities using camera traps to identify individuals. The population of feral cats on Mornington-Marion Downs is estimated at approximately 1,200 cats.
    • AWC has two specially-trained feral-cat detector dogs at Mornington.