Feral (wild) cats and domestic cats on the prowl at night have a devastating effect on native wildlife, which has not evolved to coexist with an efficient predator like the cat.
Photo courtesy of Parks Manager, Norfolk Island National Park, Parks Australia
In April 2017, Margaret Christian of the Society prepared an brief explanatory memorandum which eventually accompanied a questionnaire for the people of the Island, conducted by the Norfolk Island Regional Council. The survey form presented three options:
Option 1 – Do nothing
Option 2 – Ban cats from Norfolk Island
Option 3 – Allow continued cat ownership under controlled conditions.
The survey revealed that 12% of respondents wanted cats banned completely and another ~68% wanted cats to be controlled. There was a vocal campaign by the cat lovers to be engaged in the survey. They took out half page advertisements in the Norfolk Islander, but the results showed that they were in a minority.
Unfortunately, the changes in Island governance took effect soon after and there has not been much progress towards cat control, notably in establishing a pound, one of the highest priority proposals that emerged from the survey. However, Island-wide cat monitoring and localised feral cat control has been funded by the Australian Government, using the survey results as evidence of the community’s support for control.
Before ceasing operations, the Cat Welfare and Wildlife Protection Association of Norfolk Island transferred a significant quantum of its residual funds to the Society to ensure that any cats trapped would be treated humanely.
Live traps that do not harm cats are available for loan from the Society.
Four leaflets have been produced by the authorities on free-ranging cats. There seem to be about 100 roaming cats at any one time, a number that defies coordinated attempts at reduction.
For further information see also the Regional Council’s Pest Management Strategy.