Field efficacy testing Curiosity® bait for feral cats Karijini National Park, Pilbara, Western Australia
Curiosity baits were aerially distributed over a 268 km2 area within Karijini National Park, Western Australia in August 2012. This trial was part of a series of field trials conducted across Australia to assess the efficacy of this bait product and will contribute to the data submitted for product registration purposes.
Monitoring of the bait efficacy program was undertaken by assessing site occupancy of feral cats prior to and following baiting using automated cameras. Additionally, the survival of eight cats that had been trapped and fitted with a GPS datalogger / VHF telemetry collar prior to baiting was monitored. The study included replicated counts of birds prior to and following to determine whether the Curiosity® baits led to a decrease in populations of non-target species. Impacts on reptile populations were expected to be mitigated given that the application of baits was timed for winter when these species were minimally active.
An analysis of site occupancy data showed that there was no significant reduction in the feral cat population after baiting. None of the collared cats died as a result of bait consumption, despite numerous opportunities to encounter the bait as indicated by the GPS datalogged locations.