Measuring the Welfare Impact of Soft-Catch Leg-Hold Trapping for Feral Cats on Non-Target By-Catch
Environment and Conservation Cluster, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia
Perth Zoo Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
Feral cats are linked to fauna extinctions and declines globally through predation, disease transmission, and hybridisation. Soft-catch leg-hold trapping, with or without olfactory lures, is used to capture feral cats; however, by-catch may occur, including species of conservation concern. Using data from 431 non-target animals trapped at six Western Australian sites over 18 years, we demonstrate that birds are at greatest risk of serious injury. Appropriate placement of traps, careful choice of lures depending on the non-target species known to be in the study area, adjustment of traps to minimize the chance of closing on small animals, and training of all personnel associated with trapping will minimize the risk to birds and other non-target fauna.