New paper: ‘Living with the enemy: a threatened prey species coexisting with feral cats on a fox-free island’

Miritis, V., Rendall, AR.,Doherty, TS., Coetsee, AL., Ritchie, EG.

We investigated the spatial and temporal activity of long-nosed potoroos (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus) and feral cats (Felis catus) on French Island, Victoria. This population of potoroo’s has co-existed with cats since their introduction to the island, and we sought to understand the mechanisms by which this population was able to continue to persist.

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Feral cats had a conservative density estimate of 0.77 km² throughout the year; a density that is higher than mainland Australia yet lower than other offshore islands. Potoroo detectability was higher in denser vegetation, with this relationship strongest at sites with high cat activity. Cats and potoroos both overlapped in their temporal activity, but their peak activity times differed.

Our results suggest that cats may be tracking potoroos as prey or other prey species that co-occur with potoroos. Temporal activity of each species differed, and potoroos sought more complex habitat, highlighting possible mechanisms potoroos may use to reduce their predation risk when co-occurring with cats

Read more in our conversation article, or the full research paper

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