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Bushtracks Autumn 2021

Published 15 Apr 2021

Consider this: Feral cats roam across 99.8% of Australia, yet for most of us, the only cats we ever come into contact with are family pets. How is that possible?

The answer is simple. Feral cats are quiet, cunning, cautious, generally solitary and almost always on the move. This makes trying to control them a difficult task, but doing so is essential to the future of biodiversity in this country - and one of the great challenges for Australian conservationists.

The threat that feral cats pose to our native species has of course long been recognised - Australia’s first national feral cat threat abatement plan was published in 1999 – but worryingly little progress has been made. If we’re to stop species like the Night Parrot and Red-tailed Phascogale from going extinct, we need to get serious about investing in novel techniques, new technologies, and research that helps us better understand and anticipate the movements of feral cats.

In our story ‘The problem with cats’, Hannah James looks at a few different approaches that our staff and partners are taking to cat control across arid landscapes in Queensland.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Bush Heritage’s first species translocation – when 30 endangered Red-tailed Phascogales (small, fluffy-tailed, tree-dwelling marsupials) were moved to our Kojonup Reserve in Western Australia. Predation by feral cats is considered to be the primary cause behind the decline of Red-tailed Phascogales, so to see the Kojonup population thriving today in an unfenced environment shows me what is possible when our native species are given a chance. More in our 'Marsupials under the microscope' story.

The final story in this edition of bushtracks is a special one – that of our long-time supporter Annelie Holden and her extraordinary gift: the Round House, our newest reserve. Located just an hour’s drive north of Melbourne, on Taungurung country, the Round House will be a place where the Bush Heritage community can come together to connect with each other and our work.

With 270 degree views from Mount Bulla to Mount Macedon it's sure to give many people much joy, just as it did Annelie and her partner George. I look forward to seeing you there.

CEO Heather Campbell

Heather Campbell's signature

Heather Campbell, Chief Executive Officer.

More from Bushtracks Autumn 2021

The architect-designed Round House building.

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

A gift like no other

Long-time Bush Heritage supporter and volunteer Annelie Holden once used her bush property as an escape from the city. Now she has donated it to Bush Heritage so it can start a new life as a conservation reserve and our first ever education centre.

Read More
Photo by Amelia Caddy

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

Defined by the bush

Susan and Peter feel an intimate connection to the Australian bush, which is why they’ve left a gift in their Wills that will help ensure its protection into the future.

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Red-tailed Phascogale. Photo Meredith Spencer.

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

Marsupials under the microscope

A conservation genetics project on Kojonup Reserve is guiding the management of one of Bush Heritage’s sweetest marsupial residents – the Red-tailed Phascogale.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

Mike Bretz' happy place

I’m always happy when there’s work to be done on the Liffey River Reserve walking track. The track passes through an amazing stretch of remnant Myrtle (Nothafagus cunninghami) forest before looping back to the Liffey River (tellerpanger).

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A feral cat in the scrub. Photo Annette Ruzicka.

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

The problem with cats

Feral cats kill an estimated 2 billion animals in Australia every year, but nuanced solutions on Bush Heritage reserves and partnership properties across Australia are helping to turn the tide.

Read More
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