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Volunteers help combat cats

Published 27 Jun 2017 by Keith Gooley (volunteer)

Feral cats are wreaking havoc on Australia's native wildlife and to go some way in addressing this, a cat trap system has been trialled at Boolcoomatta Station Reserve in South Australia.

Soft-jawed spring traps have been used for some time to reduce feral cat numbers but individual traps set in the wild must be visited daily to prevent undue suffering of any animals held in the traps.

Keith Gooley, with help from Peter Caulder, designed and built a special trap system at Boolcoomatta using a radio telemetry device attached to each trap.

When the trap is sprung, a signal is sent to the Base unit, giving the serial number of the trap. The Reserve Manager is able to go directly to the trap as soon as an animal is captured.

This means that cats don't suffer unduly by being held in traps for long periods.

This June, Keith and Peter visited Boolcoomatta and upgraded new software in the trap control box and in the Base unit. They completed the upgrade of 14 traps, testing them with the upgraded Base unit.

Three traps were set up in the field as a trial during the visit and at the time of writing, 24 hours later none of the traps had been sprung. They will continue to be monitored by the manager.

Keith (blue jacket) & Peter in the Boolcoomatta Reserve workshop. Keith (blue jacket) & Peter in the Boolcoomatta Reserve workshop.
Keith & Peter with the trap control boxes. Keith & Peter with the trap control boxes.
Peter setting a trap. Peter setting a trap.
Keith at the repeater site. Keith at the repeater site.

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