IN DANGER: Bookbook Fauna Spotter Scott Akins-Sellar shows off a deceased Red-rumped Parrot, which are perfect prey for feral cats.
IN DANGER: Bookbook Fauna Spotter Scott Akins-Sellar shows off a deceased Red-rumped Parrot, which are perfect prey for feral cats. Tom Gillespie

Feral cat numbers in Roma put native animals at risk

THE Red-rumped Parrot that Boobook's Scott Akins-Sellar is holding in his hands is prime prey for feral cats, whose numbers have exploded across the Maranoa and the rest of the country.

A cousin of this bird, the Paradise Parrot, is now extinct in the Maranoa largely due to an explosion in feral cats, whose numbers are as high as 20 million in Australia according to the Federal Government.

Mr Akins-Sellar is one of the region's foremost fauna experts and said feral cats are so dangerous for their flexible diet.

"That's the thing that makes them so successful - your cat at home might be pretty fussy but feral cats are not," he said.

"I have done a lot of trapping with feral cats and you've got to be sneaky.

"There are little geckos called the Golden-Tailed Gecko that is listed as endangered."

Feral cats are distinguished from domestic or stray cats because they have never had any interaction with humans.

Mr Akins-Sellar said there were links to the decline in wild dogs and a rise in feral cats.

"One thing studies have found is that areas where there are more dingoes and foxes, there are fewer cats," he said.

"If there are areas with more wild dog control, the cats move into the area.

"They are quite cryptic and sure you might see them, but they are quite intelligent and will stay out of sight."

Maranoa Regional Councillor Jan Chambers said it was difficult to determine how many feral cats were in the region.

"Feral cat traps are available from council for $70 bond and $2.40 per day (bond is refunded on return if trap is not damaged)," Cr Chambers said.

"A few challenges in reducing numbers are their behaviour, their habitats, survival and density of population."


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