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VIDEO: Skilled Indigenous Rangers – Cat tracking and managing feral cats

Feral cats continue to place pressure on native animals, especially in arid ecosystems.

This video, produced by Territory NRM, showcases Desert Wildlife Services (Rachel Paltridge) and Newhaven Rangers (Christine, Alice, Benedict and George) integrating science and indigenous tracking skills to remove feral cats from the landscape, reducing pressure on threatened Great Desert Skink populations at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s, Newhaven Sanctuary.

Located in the Tanami Desert, the project contains sandy soils, ideal for tracking predators.

Skilled Indigenous rangers track the path of a feral cat through spinifex and set 16 traps along its route, anticipating its return.

Audio and scent lures are often combined with softjaw leghold traps.

Identifying trap placement by Indigenous rangers, is a critical component of successful cat trapping, making the activities efficient, effective, solutions for strategically reducing pressure on threatened species populations.

Recently, a cat camp was held to share traditional cat hunting techniques, including the use of 'Sophie' the cat sniffer dog.

Stomachs from trapped feral cats are analysed to indicate diet from the cat’s most recent meal.

For example, the contents of a female cat included a sand goanna, a fat-tailed gecko, a spinifex hopping mouse, a helen’s skink and a grasshopper.

This project is supported by Territory Natural Resource Management through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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