Development of the Mata Hari Judas Queen (Felis catus)
School of Sciences, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD 4350, Australia
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland Gatton campus, Gatton QLD 4343, Australia
School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland Gatton campus, Gatton QLD 4343, Australia
Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, The University of Queensland, Grandchester QLD 4340, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current affiliation: 8 Walnut Court, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia.
Received: 10 September 2020 / Revised: 25 September 2020 / Accepted: 29 September 2020 / Published: 10 October 2020
Predation by introduced feral cats is one of the main drivers of extinction in Australian mammals and they have been implicated in reducing populations of birds, frogs and reptiles. Current control techniques e.g., fencing, baiting, trapping and shooting for the management of cats are costly, labour intensive and fail to eradicate entire populations which allows survivors to re-establish populations. The Mata Hari Judas (MHJ) technique i.e., inducing prolonged oestrus using hormone implants, can enhance the eradication of remnant feral animals after the majority of their population has been killed. The hypotheses tested in this study were that hormone implants could induce prolonged oestrus in queens (adult female cats), and that prolonging oestrus resulted in sustained attractiveness to toms (adult male cats). This study shows that it is possible to induce and prolong oestrus in queens using hormone implants where these queens are attractive to toms. The MHJ queen is a new tool with the potential to enhance detection and thus the control of feral cats in remnant populations.