Research challenges and conservation implications for urban cat management in New Zealand

Kikillus, K.H., Chambers, G.K., Farnworth, M.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-6226-0818 and Hare, K.M., 2017. Research challenges and conservation implications for urban cat management in New Zealand. Pacific Conservation Biology, 23 (1), pp. 15-24. ISSN 1038-2097

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Over the past 20 years conservation efforts in New Zealand have moved from being concentrated in rural and isolated island locations, where exotic mammalian predators are often controlled, to begin to bring native fauna back to major cities. However, human-wildlife conflicts arise when conservation occurs in close proximity to cities, which, by definition, are vastly altered habitats from the natural form in both structure and species composition. These conflicts are particularly intense when companion animals are involved either as potential predators or prey of high-value conservation animals. Within New Zealand this conflict is particularly fraught around domestic cats (Felis catus) in the urban environment, where both owned and unowned individuals live at high densities. Cats in New Zealand are recognised as major introduced predators of native fauna, but they also prey upon small introduced predatory mammals. This dynamic causes much conflict between people with different attitudes towards animals, but as yet few studies have explored the role(s), either negative or positive, of urban cats in New Zealand. Here, we review current knowledge on domestic cats in urban New Zealand, identify gaps in knowledge, and make suggestions for future research – which include citizen science-based research programmes investigating urban cat ecology, further social research regarding motivators for behaviour change in cat owners, investigation into international cat management legislation, market research of cat containment systems, and more in depth research into cat diseases and zoonoses. This information is vital for informing the public and improving the management of the urban cat populations, including mitigating any potential conservation impacts. Urban ecologists will need to be versatile in the way that they design and conduct experiments in this unique situation.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Urban ecology of cats in New Zealand [working title]
Publication Title: Pacific Conservation Biology
Creators: Kikillus, K.H., Chambers, G.K., Farnworth, M.J. and Hare, K.M.
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing for the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania
Date: February 2017
Volume: 23
Number: 1
ISSN: 1038-2097
PC16022Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 22 Feb 2018 11:39
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2018 11:39

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