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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Australie → 1999 → THE ECOLOGY OF FERAL CATS, FELIS CATUS, IN OPEN FOREST IN NEW SOUTH WALES : INTERACTIONS WITH FOOD RESOURCES AND FOXES

University of Sydney (1999)

THE ECOLOGY OF FERAL CATS, FELIS CATUS, IN OPEN FOREST IN NEW SOUTH WALES : INTERACTIONS WITH FOOD RESOURCES AND FOXES

MOLSHER, Robyn Lorraine

Titre : THE ECOLOGY OF FERAL CATS, FELIS CATUS, IN OPEN FOREST IN NEW SOUTH WALES : INTERACTIONS WITH FOOD RESOURCES AND FOXES

Auteur : MOLSHER, Robyn Lorraine

Université de soutenance : University of Sydney

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1999

Résumé partiel
Despite increasing evidence for the impact of feral cats Felis catus on native fauna in Australia, little is known of the ecology of cats, particularly factors that limit cat abundance. The ecology of the feral cat in Australia is represented by just 15 published studies on diet, only one of which has examined diet in relation to prey availability, and one study of home range behaviour. The red fox Vulpes vulpes is a significant pest to agriculture and native fauna in Australia and widespread fox removals have been proposed by the Vertebrate Biocontrol Cooperative Research Centre (VBCRC). However, there is concern that feral cats may increase compensatorily when fox populations are reduced, as has occurred in Western Australia, and therefore that predation pressure may not be alleviated on native fauna following fox control programs. This thesis is divided into two parts. First, the diet and home range size of cats is examined in relation to prey availability, and home range overlap and habitat use are determined. In the second part, several niche parameters (diet, home range and habitat use) that were potentially important resources for foxes and cats were quantified to assess the potential for competition. Avoidance and aggression between cats and foxes was examined using simultaneous radiotracking techniques and video observations. The hypothesis that foxes limit cats through interspecific competition (exploitation and interference) was then tested using a fox removal experiment. Finally, three further hypotheses were tested using a fox removal experiment to determine which factors limit feral cats at Burrendong. The four hypotheses tested were thus : i) Cats are limited independently of foxes through other factors such as food availability ; ii) Foxes limit cats through interspecific competition (exploitation and/or interference) ; iii) Foxes limit cats through intraguild predation ; iv) Cats benefit from the presence of foxes through facilitation.

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