National park camera reveals unwanted guest

Wednesday 30 January, 2019

A domestic cat has been spotted on a hidden camera prowling bushland that is home to threatened native mammals.

The collared cat was captured by a remote camera in the Anglesea Heath section of the Great Otway National Park, where Parks Victoria is delivering a multi-year conservation project.

Domestic cats, like their feral relatives, are skilful killers capable of causing serious harm to birds, reptiles and small mammals. Recent estimates have suggested cats kill one million birds every day in Australia.

Park Ranger Claire Miller said it was concerning to see vision of the cat where an endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot had been recorded just hours earlier.

“The Otway Ark project seeks to monitor and protect threatened native animals from foxes,” said Ms Miller.

“This ongoing conservation challenge is made more difficult when domestic animals, like dogs and cats, are able to wander into the national park.”

“Cats prey on small wildlife, which unfortunately puts the unique and threatened mammals of the Great Otway National Park in the firing line.”

“Owners need to ensure pets can’t escape their property and get into parks and reserves where they can attack wildlife. It’s timely to also remind people that it is also an offence for a pet to be in a national park.”

The Great Otway National Park, which covers more than 100,000 hectares from Torquay to Princetown, is home to a rich diversity of native animals. This includes species that are extinct elsewhere such as the Long-nosed Potoroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Dusky and Swamp Antechinus and Spot-tailed Quoll.

The Otway Ark Project commenced in 2008 to protect threatened native animals around the Great Otway National Park. A remote camera program commenced in 2016 to monitor changes in the populations of key threatened species, and foxes.

Parks Victoria is committed to conservation in Victoria’s parks, looking after the most important areas of habitat for our native animals and plants.

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Josh Maher

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