Article

Predation by domestic cats in an English village

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Abstract

We studied predation by approximately 70 domestic cats (Felis catus L.) in the Bedfordshire village of Felmersham over a one-year period. All the prey items brought home by virtually all the cats in the village were recorded and, where possible, identified. A total of 1090 prey items (535 mammals, 297 birds and 258 unidentified animals) were taken, an average of about 14 per cat per year. Twenty two species of birds and 15 species of mammals were identified. The most important items were woodmice (17%), house sparrows (16%) and bank voles (14%). Old cats of both sexes caught fewer prey over the year than young cats. Female cats on the edge of the village also caught more prey than female cats in intermediate or central areas of the village; male cats showed no such effect. The type of prey caught also varied with position in the village; ‘core’ cats caught proportionately more birds than ‘edge’ cats. There was some indication in the data that cats caught fewer prey in areas where cat density was highest, but this effect was impossible to disentangle from position in the village. Weather apparently influenced hunting success. Temperature had no direct influence, but fewer prey were caught in winter; cats also caught less on wet days and windy days. Estimates of the number of house sparrows in the village at the start of the breeding season, and the number of sparrows known to have been caught by the cats, suggest that at least 30% of the sparrow deaths in the village were due to cats. Domestic cats would appear to be major predators in this typical English village.

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... However, despite debates over the possible impact of domestic cats on New Zealand native wildlife (Clifton, 2001) there is no published study of the diet of domestic cats in urban habitats of New Zealand. Arguments that domestic cats are affecting wildlife in New Zealand are based on knowledge of feral cat diets and the results of a study of the prey of domestic cats in the United Kingdom by Churcher & Lawton (1987). ...
... Survey methods were based on those used by Borkenhagen (1978), Churcher & Lawton (1987), Paton (1991), Barratt (1997b) and Meek (1998). Every household in each of the study areas (101 households in Oratia and 189 households in Browns Bay) was hand-delivered a 'return by post' questionnaire. ...
... First, it was assumed that the prey brought back to the home by domestic cats is representative of the prey these cats take. This assumption has been made by other researchers (Bradt, 1949;Borkenhagen, 1978;Churcher & Lawton, 1987;Carss, 1995). It is not known what percentage of prey is brought home by domestic cats, or if some prey is more likely to be brought home than others. ...
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The prey brought in by 80 cats Felis catus over 1 year was monitored in two suburbs of Auckland, New Zealand: one suburb was completely urban, the other on the urban/forest fringe. Cat owners were asked to record and, if possible, keep the prey that their cats brought in. Rodents were the main prey brought in by domestic cats in the urban/forest fringe habitat, whereas invertebrates were the main prey in the fully urban habitat. Birds were caught in similar numbers by cats in both areas and were the second most important prey group at both study sites. However, more native birds were caught by cats in the urban/forest fringe area than in the fully urban habitat. Lizards were caught in similar numbers and were the third most important prey group in both study areas.
... The diet of house cats frequently contains foods originating from human sources (e.g., pet food, kitchen remnant; reviewed : Fitzgerald 1988). Although feeding cats might reduce their motivation to hunt (Turner and Meister 1988), a high level of predation is still demonstrated (e.g., Churcher and Lawton 1987;Woods et al. 2003;Loyd et al. 2013) and it has been suggested that these cats kill prey independently of hunger. Beside the household food, the main diet component contains small mammals (mainly rodents) (Fitzgerald 1988), but the consumption of small birds (Achterberg and Metzger 1980) or insects (Krauze-Gryz et al. 2012) is also frequent. ...
... It is demonstrated that house cats in contrast with feral cats predate independently of hunger. The killed prey is consumed only partially, and it is brought home (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Fitzgerald 1988;Woods et al. 2003) or left on the predation site (Loyd et al. 2013). Therefore, we predicted (fourth prediction) that the differences in the food compositions were determined by direct (prey brought home) or indirect (stomach and scat analysis) methods, based on the local experiences of the study by Krauze-Gryz et al. (2012). ...
... In the case of low small mammal resources, or in the nesting period of birds, house cats could switch prey type from small mammals to birds or lizards (Fitzgerald 1988;Peck et al. 2008). Moreover, the predation is not always accompanied by consumption in the case of house cats (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Woods et al. 2003;Loyd et al. 2013), while wildcats are rather food specialists or facultative food specialists (Malo et al. 2004;Biró et al. 2005;Lozano et al. 2006). Feral cats had an intermediate position, since they rarely consumed household food (Table S1, Online Resource 1) whereas they predated for survival like the wildcat. ...
Article
Differences in availability of food resources are often manifested in the differentiation of feeding habits of closely related mammal species. Therefore, we assumed that the diet composition and trophic niche of house (i.e., highly dependent on human households), feral (i.e. independent on human households) domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) and wildcats (Felis s. silvestris) differs. Based on the literature data from Europe (53 study sites), we compared the diet of these three felids analyzed with use of indirect methods (stomach and scat analyses). In the case of the house cat, we additionally compared consumption data obtained directly from prey brought home. Data were expressed as the relative frequency of occurrence to compare dietary patterns. The main prey of the three cat types were small mammals in different ratios. According to the stomach and scat samples, the diet composition of the cat types showed differences in the consumption of rodents, insectivores, wild ungulates, and household food, supporting the “dietary differences originate from varying resources” hypothesis. More opportunistic house cats had a broader trophic niche than feeding specialist wildcats, while feral cats had an intermediate position. The trophic niche breadth of all three cat types increased along a latitudinal gradient from northern to southern areas of Europe. The predation of the house cat which was examined from prey brought home differed from the data obtained by indirect diet analysis; however, it yielded similar results to the diet of the feral cat and the wildcat. Due to their high numbers and similarity of its diet to the wildcat, house cats are a threat to wild animals; therefore, their predation pressure needs to be further investigated.
... Many international studies confirm that owned domestic cats Felis catus (Mammalia: Felidae) do kill large numbers of wildlife and document mortality statistics (e.g., Barratt 1998, Churcher & Lawton 1987, Gillies & Clout 2003, Woods et al. 2003, Lepczyk et al. 2003. However, this evidence does not discount the possibility that cats simply take a 'doomed surplus' of prey (Bomford et al. 1995, Patronek 1998, Risbey et al. 1999) and few studies demonstrate a decline in prey populations unequivocally linked to predation by owned cats (Larkin 1989 andDufty 1994 are important examples). ...
... The behaviour of feral cats and their impact on native fauna have been well documented by various authors through techniques such as field experimental work (e.g., Risbey et al. 2000), radio tracking studies (e.g., Page et al. 1992, Naidenko andHupe 2002) diet analysis (e.g., Risbey et al. 1999, Read andBowen 2001) and scent-based lures (e.g., Edwards et al. 1997). In the case of pet cats, predatory habits have been based on recording of prey killed and brought home (e.g., Churcher and Lawton 1987, Paton 1991, Barratt 1997a but only a few have been based on experimental studies (Ruxton et al. 2002). ...
... Many pet cats do hunt and numerous Australian (e.g., Paton 1991Paton , 1993REARK 1994a, b;Barratt 1995Barratt , 1997aPerry 1999) and international (e.g., Churcher and Lawton 1987, Ruxton et al. 2002, Woods et al. 2003, Lepczyk et al. 2003) studies document mortality statistics. However, the impact on prey populations is largely unknown (Larkin 1989 andDufty 1994 are important Australian exceptions) and cats may be scapegoats for other impacts, a point made strongly by some critics of cat regulations (e.g., Fitzgerald 1990, Nattrass 1992, Chaseling 2001. ...
... Outdoor free-ranging cats (both pets and ferals) have been introduced to most landscapes of the world (Fitzgerald and Turner, 2000). Small mammals usually dominate among prey caught (Woods et al., 2003;Tschanz et al., 2010;Krauze-Gryz et al., 2012a but cat impact on bird or reptile populations can also be important (Churcher and Lawton, 1987;Lepczyk et al., 2004;Fitzgerald and Turner, 2000;Blancher, 2013;Loyd et al., 2013). Contrary to numerous studies performed at local scale, the large scale evaluations of cats' impact on vertebrates are restricted to a few countries. ...
... Unfortunately, these species are often declining in number. For instance, Polish population of house sparrow crashed last years (Węgrzynowicz, 2017), and in the UK cats were responsible for at least 30% of sparrow deaths (Churcher and Lawton, 1987). Of course, different bird species experience different levels of this predation pressure. ...
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We estimated the predation rate by free ranging domestic cats on vertebrates in rural areas of central Poland. We performed a door-to-door survey on the number of cats owned and type of food provided and combined results of the survey with the previous data on cats’ diet composition, estimated with different methods (prey-brought-home and prey-eaten). With the help of simulations, we estimated an average number of mammals and birds killed by cats on a single farm annually. 0.839 cats were kept in each farm, 78.5% of them were fed with leftovers. On average, cats from one farm brought home 16.4 mammals and 3.0 birds annually, but ate 198.9 mammals and 46.3 birds annually, although these two categories are not fully additive because cat can eat prey it brought home. Extrapolation of these figures to all Polish farmsteads (2.9 million in 2002) indicates that cats bring home and eat 48.1 and 583.4 millions of mammals, respectively, and 8.9 and 135.7 millions of birds, respectively. Our survey showed that cats in Polish farmland are kept as mousers rather than pets and little attention is paid to their welfare (i.e. are poorly fed). Thus, the total impact they impose on wildlife can be expected to be important.
... No differences between the prevalence of I. hexagonus on cats or dogs were observed in Germany (Beichel et al., 1996), The Netherlands (Nijhof et al., 2007) or Belgium (Claerebout et al., 2013). A higher prevalence of I. hexagonus on cats than dogs might be expected due to behavioural differences; cats actively hunt rodents, birds and amphibians (Churcher and Lawton, 1987) bringing them into contact with the habitat of the primary host of I. hexagonus, the common European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) (Wierzbowska et al., 2016). In the present study, I. hexagonus, was most prevalent on cats in urban areas where populations of hedgehogs are known to be up to nine times higher than in forests, open grassland and agricultural land or rural areas (Young et al., 2006;Huijser et al., 1999;Hubert et al., 2011). ...
... Male, entire cats aged between 4 and 6 years living in rural areas were most likely to be infested. This may be due to variations in behaviour, with younger cats more likely to be active hunters and males having increased hunting success (Churcher and Lawton, 1987). Coat length had no significant effect on the probability of a cat having a tick. ...
Article
Ticks parasitising cats are widely distributed throughout the UK, and awareness of the risk presented by ticks and the pathogens they may transmit is of importance. Higher tick numbers and year-round biting activity could pose a significantly increased threat to cats and their owners. The most frequently recorded tick on cats is Ixodes ricinus, but the hedgehog tick Ixodes hexagonus is also common particularly for cats in urban areas and is considerably more prevalent on cats than on dogs. Ticks transmit a wide range of pathogens to cats, although usually with relatively low prevalence in the UK. However, of note is that, in a recent study of the pathogens present in ticks feeding on cats, Babesia vulpes was detected in I. hexagonus and B. venatorum was detected in I. ricinus; both are agents of potentially fatal diseases and in the latter case the pathogen is zoonotic. Tick control is therefore important in cats, not only for the health of parasitised individuals, but also to prevent cats acting as transport hosts for ticks carrying a wide range of pathogens of both veterinary and zoonotic significance.
... The major causes of mortality described in the different papers, were as follow: oiling (n=1), light pollution (n=1), poisoning (n=3), nutritional disorders (n=4), infectious diseases (n=5), trapped or stranded (n=5), gunshot (n=7), predation or cannibalism (n=7), trauma (n=14) (from non-specified cause) and collision with infrastructures or vehicles (n=82) (Table 1, Figure 3). (Hodson 1960, Jennings 1961, Hodson and Snow 1965, Churcher and Lawton 1987, Cooke 1995, Clarke et al. 1998, Newton et al. 1999, Philcox et al. 1999, Bunnell 2001, Slater 2002, Warren et al. 2002, Etheridge et al. 2006, Kelly and Bland 2006, Bowker et al. 2007, Robinson et al. 2010, Dowding et al. 2010, Kelly et al. 2010 (Hernandez 1988, Ferreras et al. 1989, Gonzalez-Prieto et al. 1993, Frías 1999, Huerta et al. 2000, Janss 2000, Fajardo 2001, Real et al. 2001, Camphuysen et al. 2002, Orós et al. 2005, Martínez et al. 2006b, González et al. 2007a, González et al. 2007b, Sillero 2008, Margalida et al. 2008, Rodríguez et al. 2010, Tintó et al. 2010 On the seven papers where the main cause of death was predation, in 1 work the predators were domestic animals (Churcher and Lawton 1987), in the one other study were individuals from the same species (infanticide and cannibalism (Momer et al. 2005) and in the rest of papers predation was attributed to specific natural predators e.g. birds of prey, foxes, mustelids ( Angelstam 1984, Kamler et al. 2007, Bowker et al. 2007, Misiorowska and Wasilewski 2012, Soue et al. 2015. ...
... The major causes of mortality described in the different papers, were as follow: oiling (n=1), light pollution (n=1), poisoning (n=3), nutritional disorders (n=4), infectious diseases (n=5), trapped or stranded (n=5), gunshot (n=7), predation or cannibalism (n=7), trauma (n=14) (from non-specified cause) and collision with infrastructures or vehicles (n=82) (Table 1, Figure 3). (Hodson 1960, Jennings 1961, Hodson and Snow 1965, Churcher and Lawton 1987, Cooke 1995, Clarke et al. 1998, Newton et al. 1999, Philcox et al. 1999, Bunnell 2001, Slater 2002, Warren et al. 2002, Etheridge et al. 2006, Kelly and Bland 2006, Bowker et al. 2007, Robinson et al. 2010, Dowding et al. 2010, Kelly et al. 2010 (Hernandez 1988, Ferreras et al. 1989, Gonzalez-Prieto et al. 1993, Frías 1999, Huerta et al. 2000, Janss 2000, Fajardo 2001, Real et al. 2001, Camphuysen et al. 2002, Orós et al. 2005, Martínez et al. 2006b, González et al. 2007a, González et al. 2007b, Sillero 2008, Margalida et al. 2008, Rodríguez et al. 2010, Tintó et al. 2010 On the seven papers where the main cause of death was predation, in 1 work the predators were domestic animals (Churcher and Lawton 1987), in the one other study were individuals from the same species (infanticide and cannibalism (Momer et al. 2005) and in the rest of papers predation was attributed to specific natural predators e.g. birds of prey, foxes, mustelids ( Angelstam 1984, Kamler et al. 2007, Bowker et al. 2007, Misiorowska and Wasilewski 2012, Soue et al. 2015. ...
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The exponential growth of the human population and their activity in the last decades have adverse effects on biodiversity. The main objective of this review was to present a compilation of works on causes of mortality of native wildlife in Europe, in the last decades linked to human activity. Here, a total of 130 peer-reviewed publications were reviewed for the period between 1942 to 2017 from thirty-eight countries. Sixty-five percent of the studies were focused on the bird's species. Our results showed that the leading cause of mortality was due to traumatic origin, particularly collision with infrastructures and motor vehicles. Based on the papers analysed in the present study, it is possible to conclude that human development and its anthropogenic pressures have a negative effect on some species of wildlife, while the potential impact on the vast majority of other species is still unknown. This study provided an insight into the effects of the different anthropogenic pressures on the European fauna, giving valuable information on its main threats and raising important questions on rehabilitation management practices.
... Furthermore, as knowledge and societal views have changed, we have today a greater recognition that feral cats may be an ecological problem. For instance, during the 1980s and 1990s several seminal publications drew renewed attention to the issue of feral and outdoor cat depredation on native bird species (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Coleman and Temple 1993), which prompted many municipalities to enact laws and organizations to develop outreach material aimed at keeping cats indoors. Finally, owned cat numbers have been increasing for decades in the United States (Lepczyk et al. 2010;Figure 13.1) and it is believed that the feral cat population is following a similar trajectory. ...
... Ecologically, cats pose a number of concerns. Historically, foremost amongst these concerns has been the effects of predation on native wildlife (Forbush 1916;Churcher and Lawton 1987;Coleman and Temple 1993;Lepczyk et al. 2004;Loss et al. 2013). Cats depredate essentially any animal that they can handle, and scavenge many more (Lepczyk et al. unpublished manuscript;Olson et al. 2016;Abernethy et al. unpublished manuscript), due to their generalist nature and high protein requirements. ...
... Hunting by pet cats has caused bird population declines and extirpations at multiple habitat patches in California (Crooks and Soulé 1999). In a study in an English village, 30% of sparrow, Passer domesticus, mortality was attributed to pet cats (Churcher and Lawton 1987), and, in other studies in the UK and New Zealand, pet cats killed birds each year in numbers that were equivalent to the adult bird population in those areas Thomas et al. 2012). Two separate studies of cat colonies that were fed daily and well by carers (i.e. ...
... Opportunity may be a key factor for determining hunting events. Several studies have noted that predation rates are higher in cats living closer to natural habitats than in cats in heavily urbanised areas (Churcher and Lawton 1987). For example, in Canberra and Adelaide, predation rates by pet cats increased with proximity to woodlands (Paton 1991;Barratt 1997b). ...
Article
Research and management attention on the impacts of the introduced domestic cat (Felis catus) on Australian fauna have focussed mainly on the feral population. Here, we summarise the evidence for impacts of predation by pet cats on Australian wildlife. We collate examples of local wildlife population decline and extirpation as a result, at least in part, of predation by pet cats. We assemble information across 66 studies of predation by pet cats worldwide (including 24 Australian studies) to estimate the predation toll of pet cats in Australia, plus the predation pressure per unit area in residential areas. We compared these estimates to those published for feral cats in Australia. The per capita kill rate of pet cats is 25% that of feral cats. However, pet cats live at much higher densities, so the predation rate of pets per square kilometre in residential areas is 28–52 times larger than predation rates by feral cats in natural environments, and 1.3–2.3 times greater than predation rates per km2 by feral cats living in urban areas. Pet cats kill introduced species more often than do feral cats living in natural environments, but, nonetheless, the toll of native animals killed per square kilometre by pet cats in residential areas is still much higher than the toll per square kilometre by feral cats. There is no evidence that pet cats exert significant control of introduced species. The high predation toll of pet cats in residential areas, the documented examples of declines and extirpations in populations of native species caused by pet cats, and potential pathways for other, indirect effects (e.g. from disease, landscapes of fear, ecological footprints), and the context of extraordinary impacts from feral cats on Australian fauna, together support a default position that pet cat impacts are serious and should be reduced. From a technical perspective, the pet cat impacts can be reduced more effectively and humanely than those of feral cats, while also enhancing pet cat welfare. We review the management options for reducing predation by pet cats, and discuss the opportunities and challenges for improved pet cat management and welfare.
... Video data suggests that only 23% of the total prey caught is returned (USA, Loyd, Hernandez, Carroll, Abernathy, & Marshall, 2013) and scat analysis shows a difference in species that are consumed rather than returned (Poland, Krauze-Gryz, Gryz, & Goszczyński, 2012). Nevertheless, UK studies agree that rodents are the main prey taxon of cats (mainly wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus), followed by small urban birds (house sparrow Passer domesticus, blackbird Turdus merula, great tit Parus major, robin Erithacus rubecula, and dunnock Prunella modularis; Churcher & Lawton, 1987;Woods et al., 2003;Baker, Bentley, Ansell, & Harris, 2005;Thomas, Fellowes, & Baker, 2012). ...
... Given that species of conservation concern are more likely to be found outside of urban areas, consideration should be given to cat predation in non-urban areas, particularly as urban development (and hence increased numbers of cats; Thomas et al., 2012) encroaches on areas of conservation value. There is some evidence that prey returns by cats is greater when living next to natural areas in the UK (Churcher & Lawton, 1987), but studies from New Zealand have found no difference in bird returns (Gillies & Clout, 2003; van Heezik, Smyth, Adams, & Gordon, 2010) and indeed a Polish study found that more birds were returned by urban cats (Krauze-Gryz, Ż mihorski, & Gryz, 2017). However, it is not known where these cats were hunting, and the ranging behaviour of domestic cats will determine where (and therefore what) they hunt. ...
Article
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The domestic cat (Felis catus) is a predator of global significance. In Great Britain there are ca. 9.5 million owned pet cats, with their population determined by human population density. As urban areas expand and encroach on areas of conservation value, it is not known how cats use these areas and how habitat availability influences predation rates. To address this, over a year we recorded the movement and prey of 79 owned cats in inner suburban areas (non-boundary cats) and in areas adjacent to natural habitats on the edge of the suburban area (boundary cats). Boundary cats had larger home ranges (mean 3.42 S.E. ± 0.61 ha) and returned more prey (mean 7.91 S.E. ± 2.70 prey cat⁻¹year⁻¹) than cats in non-boundary areas (2.01 S.E. ± 0.70 ha; 3.35 S.E. ± 1.06 prey cat⁻¹year⁻¹respectively). Assuming a prey return rate of 23%, extrapolated predation rates equate to 34.40 (S.E. ± 11.74) and 14.57 (S.E. ± 4.62) prey cat⁻¹year⁻¹ in our boundary and suburban study sites respectively. While non-boundary cats had little access to natural habitats, natural habitats made up > 25% of the home range of boundary cats. Boundary cats travelled a mean distance of 64.9 m (S.E. ± 6.8) into these natural habitats, with some cats ranging > 300 m inside these areas. Bird predation rates did not differ between boundary and non-boundary cats, but boundary cats killed three times more mammals. This is of relevance to urban planning, as the hunting behaviour of pet cats extends the ecological effects of urbanisation into surrounding habitats.
... Domestic animals were found to be responsible for 14% of the hospitalisations and 78% of the attacked animals did not survive. Many papers have highlighted and quantified the impact on reptiles, small birds and mammals due to feral cats (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Woods et al. 2003;Kays and DeWan 2004;Baker et al. 2005;Dickman 2009;Legge et al. 2017;. In the collection of the Museum of Natural History of Genoa, for example, there are 14 birds, 13 mammals and one reptile from Liguria and Piedmont Regions that were killed by cats between 1997 and 2019 (Table 3). ...
... comm.) saw an apparently docile dog killing Cats and dogs, left free to roam, significantly alter the natural balances that regulate wildlife, resulting in significant levels of mortality for many species, including endemic ones (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Woods et al. 2003;Kays and DeWan 2004;Baker et al. 2005;Ancillotto et al. 2013;Loss et al. 2013Loss et al. , 2015. ...
Article
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Wildlife recovery centres are widespread worldwide and their goal is the rehabilitation of wildlife and the subsequent release of healthy animals to appropriate habitats in the wild. The activity of the Genoese Wildlife Recovery Centre (CRAS) from 2015 to 2020 was analysed to assess its contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and to determine the main factors affecting the survival rate of the most abundant species. In particular, the analyses focused upon the cause, provenance and species of hospitalised animals, the seasonal distribution of recoveries and the outcomes of hospitalisation in the different species. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the anthropogenic causes was conducted, with a particular focus on attempts of preda-tion by domestic animals, especially cats. Significantly, 96.8% of animals hospitalised came from Liguria, the region in northwestern Italy where CRAS is located, with 44.8% coming from the most populated and urbanised areas of Genoa, indicating a positive correlation between population density and the number of recoveries. A total of 5881 wild animals belonging to 162 species were transferred to CRAS during the six years study period. The presence of summer migratory bird species and the high reproductive rates of most animals in summer resulted in a corresponding seasonal peak of treated animals. Birds represented 80.9% of entries; mammals accounted for 18.6% of hospitalisations; and about 0.5% of the entries were represented by reptiles and amphibians. Species protected by CITES and/or in IUCN Red List amounted to 8% of the total number of individuals. Consistent with results recorded elsewhere from Italy and other European countries, 53.9% of the specimens treated were released in nature; 4.7% were euthanised and 41.4% died. There was a significant difference between taxa in the frequency of individuals that were released, died or euthanised due to the intrinsic characteristics of species (more resistant or more adaptable to captivity than others) and/or to the types of debilitative occurrences common to each species (e.g. A peer-reviewed open-access journal Gabriele Dessalvi et al. / Nature Conservation 44: 1-20 (2021) 2 infections, wounds, traumas, fractures). A total of 14.2% of wildlife recovery was from injuries caused with certainty by people or domestic animals (human impact), with 54.3% of these hospitalised animals having been victims of predation attempts by domestic animals, mainly cats. The percentage of release in nature of animals hospitalised following human impact was significantly lower than overall cases (31.2% vs. 53.9%) due to the greater severity of the injuries. The percentage of animals released showed a further reduction to 27.1% amongst victims of predation attempts by pets. The work of Rehabilitation/Recovery Centres contributes to wildlife conservation. In particular, the CRAS in Genoa is a Centre with an increasing level of activity concerning the rehabilitation of species under CITES protection and/or included on the IUCN Red List. The contribution and experience of CRAS operators is critical for the success of 'information campaigns' aimed at limiting the number of stray dogs and cats because of their impact on wildlife. Therefore , the activity of a properly-managed CRAS can significantly contribute both directly and indirectly to wildlife conservation, resulting in important territorial safeguards for the protection of biodiversity.
... A total of forty-four homes wished to participate voluntarily, presenting a total of 120 cats. These households were provided with a descriptive sheet containing comprehensive information about the project (Online Resource 1), a consent form, as well as plastic bags in which to deposit the prey captured by their cats, following the methodology proposed by Churcher and Lawton (1987) and Barratt (1998). ...
... For six consecutive months (1st of March to the 31st of August 2018), corresponding to the reproductive and breeding periods of wild birds and small mammals (Cruz-Angón et al. 2008;Ceballos and Oliva 2005), the hunting cat owners were asked to recover any prey items brought home by their cats and to deposit these in the plastic bags (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Barratt 1998;McDonald et al. 2015), as well as to take photographs of the prey when it was not possible to recover the cadaver (Seymour et al. 2020). The records were compiled through monthly visits with the aim of keeping the owners engaged with the project. ...
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Domestic cats are a potential risk for native fauna in the Neotropics. Intrinsic (age, weight, sex, color) and extrinsic (nocturnal confinement, time spent outside the home, distance to green areas, etc.) factors can influence the type and quantity of prey that cats take to their homes. The study goal was to evaluate domestic cat predation in a Neotropical city. We intend to answer the following questions: (1) Which is the richness, dominance and abundance of prey captured by domestic cats? (2) Which are the extrinsic or intrinsic factors that most influence prey capture by domestic cats? We predict that: (a) cats will capture a large diversity of native wildlife and (b) extrinsic factors will have a greater effect compared intrinsic factors due to the innate predatory cat’s behavior. We chose 120 cats from 44 households in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. We documented the richness, dominance and abundance of wildlife species captured and brought home by cats during March to August 2019 and those intrinsic and extrinsic factors that modulate their predatory behavior. The cats captured 246 prey items, 35.8% were reptiles, 23.2% invertebrates, 17.9% amphibians, 15.4% birds and 7.7% mammals. The prey items belonged to 64 taxa (17 birds, 17 invertebrates, 15 reptiles, nine mammals and six amphibians). The lizard Sceloporus variabilis was the most captured prey. Of the prey items, 93.5% were native and 6.5% non-native. Five intrinsic and 5 extrinsic factors contributed most to the predation events, of which cat stripe color, time spent by the cats outside of the home and nocturnal confinement were the most important. These results allow us to understand the harmful effect of cats on wildlife in a Neotropical city.
... A minimum of 15 local-to national-scale studies illustrate that cat predation can be a substantial mortality source for mainland vertebrates (WebTable 1). In the UK, pet cats caused at least 30% of mortality for house sparrows (Passer domesticus), as estimated by prey returned to owners (Churcher and Lawton 1987). In Australia, DNA analysis of the remains of woylies (Bettongia penicillata) revealed that feral cats were responsible for 65% of mortality for this rare marsupial (Marlow et al. 2015) ( Figure 3a). ...
Article
Domestic cats (Felis catus) have contributed to at least 63 vertebrate extinctions, pose a major hazard to threatened vertebrates worldwide, and transmit multiple zoonotic diseases. On continents and large islands (collectively termed “mainlands”), cats are responsible for very high mortality of vertebrates. Nevertheless, cat population management is traditionally contentious and usually involves proving that cats reduce prey population sizes. We synthesize the available evidence of the negative effects of cats on mainland vertebrates. More than a dozen observational studies, as well as experimental research, provide unequivocal evidence that cats are capable of affecting multiple population-level processes among mainland vertebrates. In addition to predation, cats affect vertebrate populations through disease and fear-related effects, and they reduce population sizes, suppress vertebrate population sizes below their respective carrying capacities, and alter demographic processes such as source–sink dynamics. Policy discussions should shift from requiring “proof of impact” to a precautionary approach that emphasizes evidence-driven management to reduce further impacts from outdoor cats.
... The highest predation occurs in June when juvenile Sparrows leave the nests (Baker et al. 2005;Krauze-Gryz et al. 2016). In British villages, the domestic cat is a major House Sparrow predator responsible for up to 30% of its mortality (Churcher and Lawton 1987). Hence, the number of cats in the area may affect the decision about breeding within WS nests. ...
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Nests of White Stork Ciconia ciconia are commonly used by various passerines as nesting sites. In this study, we investigated factors determining presence and number of pairs of species breeding within White Stork nests in an extensive farmland in NE Poland. In 133 (57%) out of 233 White Stork nests, we found at least one breeding pair of passerine bird. These were from three species: House Sparrows Passer domesticus (68% of 133 nests with co-breeding), Tree Sparrows Passer montanus (65%), and Starlings Sturnus vulgaris (30%). The probability of breeding passerines within White Stork nests increased with increasing nest thickness, and was significantly higher in currently occupied nests. Sparrows were more likely to breed in White Stork nests located on electricity poles, situated closer to settlements and surrounded mainly by arable fields where meadows were not prevalent. In this paper, we show that White Stork nests are favorable nesting sites for passerines, as they are well insulated and provide an anti-predatory shield.
... The US has the largest population of pet dogs and cats globally, with an estimated 77.8 million dogs and 85.6 million cats in 2015[8]. The consequences of these animals on wildlife and water quality have been investigated, with studies showing considerable impacts on carbon usage[9,10], water quality[11][12][13][14], disease[15][16][17][18]and wildlife[19][20][21]Here, the contribution of dogs and cats to total US energy and meat consumption and the environmental impact of that meat consumption, including the production of feces, is considered. The goal of the study is to understand the scale of these animals' dietary needs in relation to those of Americans. ...
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In the US, there are more than 163 million dogs and cats that consume, as a significant portion of their diet, animal products and therefore potentially constitute a considerable dietary footprint. Here, the energy and animal-derived product consumption of these pets in the US is evaluated for the first time, as are the environmental impacts from the animal products fed to them, including feces production. In the US, dogs and cats consume about 19% ± 2% of the amount of dietary energy that humans do (203 ± 15 PJ yr⁻¹ vs. 1051 ± 9 PJ yr⁻¹) and 33% ± 9% of the animal-derived energy (67 ± 17 PJ yr⁻¹ vs. 206 ± 2 PJ yr⁻¹). They produce about 30% ± 13%, by mass, as much feces as Americans (5.1 ± Tg yr⁻¹ vs. 17.2 Tg yr⁻¹), and through their diet, constitute about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides. Dog and cat animal product consumption is responsible for release of up to 64 ± 16 million tons CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses (GHGs). Americans are the largest pet owners in the world, but the tradition of pet ownership in the US has considerable costs. As pet ownership increases in some developing countries, especially China, and trends continue in pet food toward higher content and quality of meat, globally, pet ownership will compound the environmental impacts of human dietary choices. Reducing the rate of dog and cat ownership, perhaps in favor of other pets that offer similar health and emotional benefits would considerably reduce these impacts. Simultaneous industry-wide efforts to reduce overfeeding, reduce waste, and find alternative sources of protein will also reduce these impacts.
... In Gainesville, Florida, cats were responsible for over 70% of documented depredations on northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) nests in residential neighborhoods, but were never documented depredating mockingbird nests in parking lots, pastures, or wildlife preserves (Stracey 2011). High variation in hunting activity among individual cats, including the occurrence of Bsuper predator^cats in certain studies (i.e. a few individuals who are responsible for the majority of prey returns), makes it difficult to predict where cats are likely to have the greatest impacts (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Barratt 1998;Baker et al. 2005;Tschanz et al. 2010;Thomas et al. 2012;Loyd et al. 2013;Kauhala et al. 2015). In addition, decisions of homeowners and catowners may play a role: where there is little encouragement to keep cats indoors, there may not be a close association between cats and impacts on avian communities due to uniformly high densities of outdoor cats (Sims et al. 2007). ...
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Growing human populations make it imperative for ecologists to identify strategies to conserve biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes, such as cities. Effects of urbanization on birds are particularly well-studied, but questions remain regarding the best conservation approaches. Debate about the relative utility of focusing conservation efforts on nature reserves versus developed lands has focused largely on comparing species abundance or presence, with few studies addressing underlying behavioral or demographic mechanisms. Here we evaluated differences in avian reproductive success in nature reserves and matrix habitats to test the assumption that nest predation is lower within areas protected from development. Specifically, we investigated 1) whether nest survival differed in replicated pairs of forest parks and residential neighborhoods and 2) whether differences in nest survival were associated with changes in which species most frequently depredated nests. From April–August 2007–2014, we monitored nests of two native birds, American robin (Turdus migratorius) and northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), and video-documented nest predators in paired forest-matrix habitats in the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area. We found similar rates of nest survival in the two habitats for both robins (Χ21 = 0.715, p = 0.398, n = 741 nests) and cardinals (Χ21 = 0.926, p = 0.336, n = 1156 nests), but interactions between predators and prey differed. In particular, domestic cats (Felis catus) were over five times as likely to depredate cardinal nests in matrix habitats versus forest parks (Χ21 = 7.24, simulated p = 0.010; nforest = 3, nmatrix = 7). Our results suggest that at least in some circumstances, nest success of native birds may be equivalent between nature reserves and adjacent residential matrix habitats, and thus residential neighborhoods may contribute positively to bird conservation in urban landscapes.
... Predation of birds by cats is one of the largest human-related mortality factors for birds (Blancher, 2013;Loss et al., 2012Loss et al., , 2013Loss et al., , 2015. Some studies elsewhere in the world have linked, with varying degrees of uncertainty, high predation rates by cats to ongoing reduction in the abundance of at least some bird species, even in mainland settings (Baker et al., 2005(Baker et al., , 2008Balogh et al., 2011;Churcher and Lawton, 1987;Crooks and Soulé, 1999;Lepczyk et al., 2004;Thomas et al., 2012;van Heezik et al., 2010;Woods et al., 2003). ...
Article
From analysis of results from 93 studies on the frequency of occurrence of birds in cat dietary samples, and a recently published assessment of the population size of feral cats in largely natural landscapes, we estimate and map the number of birds killed annually in Australia by feral cats. We show that average rates of predation on birds by cats on islands are ca. 10 times higher than for comparable mainland areas. Predation rates on birds are also relatively high in hot, arid regions. Across Australia's natural landscapes, feral cats typically consume 272 million birds yr− 1 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 169–508 million). However, there is substantial inter-annual variation, depending on changes in the cat population that are driven by rainfall conditions: ranging between 161 million birds yr− 1 (95% CI: 114–284 million) following dry periods and 757 million birds yr− 1 (95% CI: 334–1580 million) following wet periods. On average, feral cats kill 35.6 birds km− 2 yr− 1 (95% CI: 22.2–66.6). About 99% of these mortalities are native bird species. With a much sparser evidence base, we also estimate that a further 44 million birds are killed annually by feral cats in highly modified landscapes, and 61 million birds are killed annually by pet cats, summing to 377 million birds killed yr− 1 (i.e., just over 1 million birds per day) by all cats. Feral cats include a significantly higher proportion of birds in their diet than do other main mammalian predators. The national tally of birds killed by cats in Australia is broadly comparable to recent assessments for Canada, but less than that reported for the United States (because the cat population is much higher there). However, it remains challenging to interpret this mortality tally in terms of population viability or conservation concern for Australian birds.
... All three of our sparrow density measures were unrelated to the density of domestic cats despite wide cross-colony variation in the latter (0.0-25.9 cats ha −1 ). Previous studies have reported rates of cat depredation on rural and suburban House Sparrow populations high enough to potentially limit population size (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Thomas et al. 2012). ...
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Little is known about the environmental factors that limit the demography and abundance of wild vertebrates in highly modified urban environments. The House Sparrow Passer domesticus is a globally widespread species whose urban populations have recently undergone substantial declines particularly in Europe. The environmental drivers of these declines remain unknown. In a previous study we showed that invertebrate availability during the breeding season limited reproductive success but not population size in a suburban sparrow population. In this study we test experimentally whether year-round food availability limits demography and population size. Supplementary feeding involved the provision of invertebrate prey (during the breeding season) plus unlimited high-energy seed (year-round) at 33 sparrow colonies spread across suburban London over two successive calendar years. Thirty-three unfed colonies served as controls. Supplementary feeding increased fledgling abundance, but had no impact on overwinter survival or population size. We conclude that this depleted suburban sparrow population is not limited by food availability, and conservation efforts based primarily on food provision are unlikely to succeed. We also tested whether cross-colony variation in sparrow abundance was correlated with a set of potential environmental stressors including measures of predator abundance and pollution. Sparrows were more abundant, or showed more positive temporal changes in abundance, at localities containing large areas of seed-rich habitat and low levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution. Further research is merited into the potential impacts of air pollution on the fitness of urban birds. © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
... More troubling than the range of predation rates, however, is its representation by Loss et al. as a uniform distribution. It's widely recognized − and documented in studies cited by the authors (Churcher and Lawton 1987, Barratt 1998) − that the distribution of prey items killed by pet cats is not uniform at all but positively skewed. A brief example will illustrate the consequences of overlooking this fact. ...
... Domestic cats are instinctive hunters that will hunt and kill regardless of hunger (Adamec 1976, Churcher andLawton 1987). This instinctive behavioral trait combined with their close affiliation with humans amplifies the impacts of free-roaming cats, which may occur in densities 10-100 times those of native predators and reach over 1,500 animals per km 2 (Liberg et al. 2000, Sims et al. 2008. ...
... Today, no one denies that cats cause environmental impacts, although some question their significance (Baker et al. 2003, Beckerman et al. 2007. Still, an accumulating body of information (e.g., Churcher and Lawton 1987, Dabritz and Conrad 2010, Baker et al. 2010 warrants that serious attention be focused on both the biological realities as well as social perceptions surrounding outdoors cats. The issues to be addressed are complex and in some cases critical. ...
... The impact of Domestic Cats Felis silvestris catus, Cat from hereon, on biodiversity and particularly on bird populations, has been documented worldwide (Parmalee 1953, Churcher & Lawton 1987, Barratt 1997, Loss & Marra 2017. However, the majority of currently available studies address closed ecosystems, such as small islands (Medina et al. 2011). ...
Article
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Domestic Cat Felis silvestris catus populations have been increasing since the 1970s in Western Europe. This increase is particularly notable in human habitats, such as gardens and parks, where Cats have locally become the most abundant carnivore. In urban contexts, understanding Cat behaviour could be important for biodiversity management. In this study, we analysed Cat predation on garden birds, using existing data from ringing programmes in France and Belgium. These types of data permit us to (1) investigate the bird species killed by Cats, (2) analyse changes in the proportion of birds killed by Cats over the years 2000-2015, and (3) compare the causes of bird mortality as reported by observers. The most affected species were passerines, both granivorous and insectivorous (Europian Robin Erithacus rubecula, Dunnock Prunella modularis, Greenfinch Carduelis chloris), who can frequently be found feeding on the ground or visiting feeders in the winter. Perched birds (Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla) were less represented. Ground-dwelling habits were significantly correlated to predation rates. Between 2000 and 2015, Cat-related mortality in garden birds increased by at least 50%, depending on the ringing programme studied, which coincided with an increase in Cat populations. Cat-related mortality is one of the leading causes of death reported by observers (12.8-26.3% of total dead birds) and occurs at the same order of magnitude as deaths due to collisions with windows. These results underline the need to consider Cats and their potential impacts on urban biodiversity management at garden and urban levels.
... The factors behind the declines seen in urban House Sparrow populations, for example, have proved far more difficult to identify and resolve, prompting significant debate. Lack of suitable nest sites (Chamberlain, Toms, Cleary-McHarg, & Banks, 2007;Shaw, Chamberlain, & Evans, 2008), loss of invertebrate food supplies (Peach, Vincent, Fowler, & Grice, 2008), pollution (Summers-Smith, 2007), disease, and increased predation by cats and Eurasian Sparrowhawk (hereafter Sparrowhawk) Accipiter nisus (Bell, Baker, Parkes, Brooke, & Chamberlain, 2010;Churcher & Lawton, 1987) have all been put forward as potential causal factors. Work by Vincent (2005), Peach et al. (2008), Peach, Mallord, Orsman, Ockendon, and Haines (2013), Peach, Sheehan, and Kirby (2014) and Peach, Mallord, Ockendon, Orsman, and Haines (2015) suggests that food availability may play a role, reducing breeding productivity and lowering postfledging survival rates. ...
Article
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Abstract The factors governing the recent declines observed in many songbirds have received much research interest, in particular whether increases of avian predators have had a negative effect on any of their prey species. In addition, further discussion has centered on whether or not the choice of model formulation has an effect on model inference. The study goal was to evaluate changes in the number of 10 songbird species in relation to a suite of environmental covariates, testing for any evidence in support of a predator effect using multiple model formulations to check for consistency in the results. We compare two different approaches to the analysis of long‐term garden bird monitoring data. The first approach models change in the prey species between 1970 and 2005 as a function of environmental covariates, including the abundance of an avian predator, while the second uses a change–change approach. Significant negative relationships were found between Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus and three of the 10 species analyzed, namely house Sparrow Passer domesticus, starling Sturnus vulgaris, and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus. The results were consistent under both modeling approaches. It is not clear if this is a direct negative impact on the overall populations of these species or a behavioral response of the prey species to avoid feeding stations frequented by Sparrowhawks (which may in turn have population consequences, by reducing available resources). The species showing evidence of negative effects of Sparrowhawks were three of the four species most at risk to Sparrowhawk predation according to their prevalence in the predator's diet. The associations could be causal in nature, although in practical terms the reduction in the rate of change in numbers visiting gardens accredited to Sparrowhawks is relatively small, and so unlikely to be the main driver of observed population declines.
... Most birds brought home were house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and great tits (Parus major). Birds feeding on the ground and in low vegetation-as the house sparrow and the great tit-have been reported to often be the victims of domestic cats (Mead, 1982;Churcher and Lawton, 1987;Pavisse et al., 2019), although the year-round gregarious house sparrow might be less prone to cat predation compared to solitary species (Mead, 1982). These species' frequency as cat victims might also be related to their relatively high abundance in settlement areas (Ineichen et al., 2012). ...
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In many areas, domestic cats are the most abundant predators of small vertebrates. Due to the potential impact on prey populations by cats, there are calls to investigate the effectiveness of visual and acoustic cues as measures to reduce the cat's hunting efficiency. In this study, we complement previous studies on the efficacy of Birdsbesafe collar-covers (BBScc) in a so far not investigated Continental European setting and explore the effectiveness in combination with a bell. We also evaluate the tolerability of these devices by the cat and the acceptance by their owners. With a randomized and comparative citizen science-based approach we collected data from 26 households with 31 study cats, which were wearing either a BBScc or both a BBScc and a bell. The BBScc reduced the number of birds brought home by 37% (probability of reduction of 88%). The number of mammals brought home was reduced by 54-62%, but only with the additional bell (probability of reduction of >99%). About one fourth of the birds that could be dissected were found to have collided with a hard object prior to having been brought home by the cats. Our results are in line with previous findings from Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom and highlight the great potential of visual and acoustic cues in reducing hunting success in domestic cats also in Continental Europe. On the other hand, our result show that the number of prey brought home by cats overestimates their hunting bag, if scavenging is not considered. The majority of cat owners reported that their cats habituated quickly to the BBScc. However, frequent scratching in some cats indicates that some individuals may not habituate. Most participating cat owners had a positive attitude toward the BBScc and said that they were willing to use it after the study. However, cat owners reported that their social environment (e.g., neighbors, family, friends) was relatively skeptical, which indicates a need for communication. To conclude, commercially available devices with visual and acoustic stimuli are straightforward and effective ways to mitigate the potentially harmful effect of domestic cats on wildlife.
... Cat introductions have caused or contributed to 33 (14%) of the modern bird, mammal and reptile extinctions on islands recorded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Red List (Medina et al., 2011). Increasing evidences from three continents suggest that cats can also locally reduce the number of birds and mammals on the mainland (Crooks and Soulé, 1999;van Heezik et al., 2010;Pavisse and Vangeluwe, 2019) and contribute to a large part of the total mortality of wildlife (Baker et al., 2008;Churcher and Lawton, 2009). Moreover, free-ranging cats are vector in many diseases, including zoonoses such as rabies, toxoplasmosis, bartonellosis, and salmonellosis, resulting in serious health risks to humans and wildlife (Dabritz and Conrad, 2009;Taggart et al., 2019). ...
Article
The growing population of outdoor free-ranging cats poses an increasingly serious threat to biodiversity. Identifying the strategies that outdoor free-ranging cats apply to live with humans is an interesting research topic. In this study, we provided robust estimates of free-ranging cat density in 30 universities in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. We found that the population density of free-ranging cats is linearly related to the proportion of female students in the university. An online questionnaire confirmed that human females were more concerned about the living conditions of free-ranging cats than human males in China. By contrast, a socialization test on 27 free-ranging cats suggests that the cats may have the ability to distinguish human sex and adopt a sociable skill to human females. This study leaves an interesting coevolution story between humans and cats and suggests that human sex may be an important factor to consider in cat population managements and wildlife conservation.
... A large number of previous studies have reported changes in bird ecology triggered by the urban environment (reviewed in Chace and Walsh, 2006;Gil and Brumm, 2013); these pointed out how this distinctive habitat may be defined by a multitude of environmental factors which rarely act in isolation. Overall, even though cities and towns are generally characterised by altered climatic profiles (increased minimum temperatures, Marzluff, 2001), predator communities (Churcher and Lawton, 1987) and food resources (i.e., supplementary feeding by humans; Fuller et al., 2008;Robb et al., 2008), the latter is emerging as a paramount in terms of its influence on habitat quality (Solonen, 2001;Robb et al., 2008;Chamberlain et al., 2009). ...
Article
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Environmental conditions are key drivers of life-history evolution, and the urban environment is an extreme form of land-use readily inhabited by avian wildlife, whose life-history variation in such altered environment is still poorly understood. Recently, the study of environmental variables associated with urban living—which include shifts in temperature, light, noise or food availability—has attracted increased attention. Another environmental axis that sets the urban space at odds relative to natural habitats is high human abundance, yet very little is known about its effect on avian fitness. We developed a protocol to quantify human presence by performing repeated counts of humans on the ground within a 15 m radius of nestboxes monitored in two centrally-located study areas of a European capital city. In parallel, a GIS-based approach was used to infer nestbox distance to the nearest path and road. Multiple counts of human presence around each nestbox yielded moderate to high repeatabilities (0.6 ≤ r ≤ 0.8) while requiring considerable resources time- and people- wise. In contrast, GIS-based estimates of nestbox distance to paths and roads were time efficient and generated highly repeatable results. The effects of (i) human presence around each nestbox, (ii) nestbox distance to the nearest path and (iii) nestbox distance to the nearest road were tested on reproductive traits of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and great tits Parus major breeding in two urban sites. Human presence did not influence blue tit or great tit life-history traits and reproductive success, suggesting reproductive habituation to humans in an urban landscape. In contrast, nestbox distance to roads shortened incubation time in great tits while nestbox distance to paths increased incubation time in blue tits. Moreover, blue tit offspring 2 weeks after hatching were lighter closer to roads. Our study confirms the reliability of a field protocol capturing human presence around multiple fixed locations that can be easily implemented in either urban or rural landscapes. At the same time, it appears that when applied to two urban sites where habituation to humans might have occurred, it is infrastructural networks rather than human presence per se that played a greater role in tit reproductive trait variation.
... It was the case of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) admitted with signs of gunshot and collected in an area with a proximity to some agriculture area with farm animals. Moreover, the water reservoirs proximity with urban or agrarian areas also promotes competition with pets (dogs and cats) and wild mammals run the risk of becoming preys of domestic animals [4,48,50,51]. It was the case of some red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris), bats (Pipistrelus pipistrelus, Eptesicus serotinus, and Myotis myotis), and hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) admitted with lesions compatible with predation by cats and dogs (visible lesions caused by the teeth and claws) and that were collected near of urban areas. ...
Article
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Background and Aim: Wild mammals are among the most threatened species of the world in large part due to human activity. In this work, we used the method of partial least squares-path modeling associated with a geographic information system to analyze the impact of anthropogenic pressures on the mortality of wild mammals. Materials and Methods: We collected the data related to the cause of death of native wild mammals admitted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Parque Biológico de Gaia in Northern Portugal, during 10 years (2008-2017). Results: A total of 359 animals from 42 municipalities (rural and urban areas) were included in the study. The main cause of death was of traumatic origin. From the anthropogenic pressures included in the study, water reservoirs, small companies, and residential buildings were the ones that contributed the most to increase the mortality of traumatic and nontraumatic origin. This relation of cause-effect (mortality-anthropogenic pressures) was supported by the high coefficients of determination obtained (R2>0.8). Conclusion: The present results allow a general view on the reality of mammal's mortality in Northern Portugal. Furthermore, it could also constitute a valuable tool for the conservation of wild mammals in those areas.
... Ever since Churher and Lawton [45] in 1987 through Loss, Will, and Marra [46] in 2013 and later, outdoor cats have been accused of eliminating wildlife, especially bird species but also small mammals, and reducing biodiversity. Although there is no doubt about the truth of this on small oceanic islands where cats have been introduced (and sometimes left behind) by humans and the potential prey species lacked defensive strategies having evolved in the absence of endemic predators (Fitzgerald [47]; Fitzgerald and Turner [48]), Lynn et al. [49] have questioned the "moral panic" over outdoor domestic cats destroying wildlife and reducing biodiversity. ...
Article
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After recent publication of several reviews covering research results from the last 35 years of domestic cat studies, a number of important unanswered questions and hypotheses have arisen that could interest active researchers, especially those beginning their academic careers. Some sections of this paper concern methodologies that have yielded new insights and could provide more in the future; other sections concern findings and interpretations of those that need further testing. First, hypotheses arise from combining subjective (or psychological) assessments of cat and human personality traits and observational (ethological) studies of cat–human interactions: e.g., do owners with high attachment to their cats interact differently with them than owners with low attachment levels? New analytical methods of dyadic interaction observations open the door for testing further hypotheses. In particular, the Theme® (Noldus bv, NL) program could be used to determine if there are differences between cat breeds in interaction patterns with people, which is not only of interest to owners but also therapists employing cats in their practices. Cat breed differences have been found using subjective ratings, but these need to be corroborated by direct observational data from the home setting and/or non-invasive colony observations, since ratings based on anthropomorphic projections might not be reliable. This should be done before searching for the genetic basis of such differences. Reliable information on breed differences is also needed before prescribing certain breeds for animal-assisted interventions. A model has predicted that the degree of socialization as a kitten affects cats’ responses to positive and negative experiences with unfamiliar humans and their formation of feline–human relationships later on. This needs to be tested in an ethically approved manner on cats of known socialization status and has enormous consequences for cat adoptions from animal shelters. Observations of human–cat interactions have yielded many correlations, which can be tested by non-invasive manipulations of human behavior in the home setting. Examples of these will be given and are of general interest to the cat-owning public. A review of first findings on social cognition in cats has resulted in further unanswered questions and hypotheses. Finally, two aspects of domestic cat ecology will be considered (effects on wildlife and space utilization), which are of great interest to the public and conservationists alike.
... Some free-ranging cats, kept as companion animals and regularly fed by people, frequently capture wild animals and bring them back, alive and dead, to the human household (Woods et al. 2003, Blancher 2013, Loss et al. 2013, Murphy et al. 2019. Some cats are more proficient and prolific hunters than others DeWan 2004, Tschanz et al. 2011), with most domestic cats probably catching few or no prey (Churcher andLawton 1987, Baker et al. 2005). Even if the individual frequency of killing is low, however, the cumulative impact of locally high densities of cats may be severe (Baker et al. 2005, Sims et al. 2008, Thomas et al. 2012. ...
Article
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Predation of wildlife by domestic cats Felis catus presents a threat to biodiversity conservation in some ecological contexts. The proportions of wild prey captured and eaten by domestic cats and thus the contributions of wild prey to cat diets are hard to quantify. This limits the understanding of any impacts of cats may have on wild animal populations and confounds analyses of the effects of interventions aimed at reducing wildlife killing. We used stable isotope analyses to quantify the relative contributions of wild and provisioned foods to the diets of domestic cats kept as companion animals and which frequently captured wild prey. We tested the effects of treatments aimed at reducing killing upon stable isotope ratios of cat whiskers and, where treatments had significant effects, we estimated variation in the contributions of wild prey to cats’ diets before and during treatment. We evaluated bells, Birdsbesafe collar covers, provision of food in a “puzzle feeder,” provision of food in which meat was the principal source of protein, object play, and a control group. As expected, cat diets consisted primarily of provisioned foods, though the contribution of wild animals to the diets of these cats, all of which regularly caught wild animals, was low (cat food ˜96%, wild animals ˜3–4%). Compared to the pre‐treatment period and control group, cats with a Birdsbesafe collar cover exhibited a significant reduction in nitrogen stable isotope ratios in their whiskers and consumed less wild prey, most likely attributable to effective inhibition of hunting, particularly for birds. Fitting cats with a Birdsbesafe collar cover, therefore, reduced both returns of wild birds and consumption of wild prey. While multiple interventions can significantly affect the numbers of wild animals that cats capture and return home, the remarkably small dietary contributions made by wild animal prey mean dietary change is harder to discern. Domestic cats rely almost exclusively on food provided by people, even when they frequently kill wild animals. This suggests that the hunting behavior of domestic cats may be driven by behavioral motivations, or by a need to address micronutrient requirements, but is unlikely to alter macronutrient intake.
... The mammals were mostly rabbits, mice, and ringtail possum (Coman & Brunner, 1972). In England, domestic cats eat mice, voles, shrews, rabbit, and some birds (Churcher & Lawton, 1987) and, in Sweden, domestic and feral cats also eat rabbits and voles (Liberg, 1984). ...
Thesis
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/79456/1/kerei.pdf
... Behavioral patterns of cats and their owners may also affect our ability to detect cats on surveys. Cats vary their activity levels depending on weather (Churcher and Lawton, 1987;Haspel and Calhoon, 1993) and time of day (Konecny, 1987;Haspel and Calhoon, 1993;Alterio and Moller, 1997;Horn et al., 2011;Kays et al., 2015;Cove et al., 2018). No information exists, however, on variation in the timing of cat activity across an urban gradient. ...
Article
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Free-ranging domestic cats are a detriment to wildlife and humans by preying on native species and transmitting disease. As a result, removing free-ranging cats from the landscape has become a conservation and public health priority. Estimating cat population size with an unbiased sampling design, however, especially in human-dominated areas, is logistically challenging and rarely done. The lack of robust cat population sampling limits our understanding of where cats pose risks, which is important for evaluating management strategies, such as trap-remove or trap-neuter-return. We hypothesized that cat abundance and activity both depend on human land use and demographics. Using a network of sites participating in a community science program, we conducted transect and camera trap surveys to test predictions of cat population abundance and activity across a gradient of residential land use intensity. Both sampling methods determined that cat abundance was greatest in areas with intermediate human population density and lower educational attainment. Transect data also provided evidence that cat abundance was greatest at intermediate levels of impervious surface cover (e.g., road and buildings), while data from camera traps also showed that cat abundance was positively associated with household income. Using counts of cats observed on cameras, we found that the timing of cat activity varied depending on the degree of urban intensity. Cats were more strictly nocturnal in medium and high intensity residential land-use areas, possibly because a greater proportion of these cats are unowned or because they avoid human activity. These results suggest that transect surveys conducted during the day may undercount cats in urban environments where unowned free-ranging cats predominate. Taken together, our results highlight the importance of incorporating human demographics, land use patterns, and urban context in estimating the abundance of free-ranging cats to better inform management decisions and improve conservation outcomes.
... Predation (1.3%) in large part of the cases seem to be due to domestic animals, in particular cats and small dogs. They are known for chasing, injuring and killing a large variety of small species, as lizards and amphibians (Churcher and Lawton, 1987;Mühldorfer et al., 2011;Loss et al., 2013). In the non-traumatic causes of death, large part were consequences of these animals been kept in captivity (6.4%), many times in poor sanitary and husbandry conditions as referred before (Scheelings, 2015;Auliya et al., 2016;Garcês et al., 2018). ...
Article
The data from 78 native species of reptiles and amphibians admitted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Parque Biológico de Gaia (Portugal) from 2009 to 2017 were revised to determine the main causes of morbidity and mortality. These data include four different orders: order Squamata (51.3%), order Testudinata (12.8%), order Anura (12.8%), and order Caudata (2.6%). 92.3% of the considered admittances were adults arriving during spring (41%) and autumn (29.5%). The main causes of admission to Rehabilitation Center were animals debilitated (12.8%) and injured (66.7%). Trauma was the major cause of mortality (78.2%). Unknown origin was the main cause of traumatic (71.8%) and non-traumatic (9.0%) death, followed by captivity related lesions (6.4%). These animals are excellent bioindicators of the health of the ecosystem and enable the identification of the main threats affecting them, especially those of anthropogenic origin. Studies of mortality on wild reptiles and amphibians are important to understand which the main threats and how human activity is affecting these populations.
... We found no support for the hypothesis that Accipiter hawks are causing the decline in House Sparrows, but birds face numerous other challenges in developed landscapes. For instance, survival and reproductive success may be reduced by increasing predation by cats (Churcher and Lawton 1987, Baker et al. 2005, Loss et al. 2013, changes in habitat structure (Shaw et al. 2008), window collisions (Klem 2008), and air or heavy metal pollution (Pinowski et al. 1995, Summers-Smith 2003, Vincent 2005. Exploring these potential causes might shed light on the heterogeneity of House Sparrow population declines in North America and worldwide. ...
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House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations declined across much of their global range in the late 20th century. Most research examining this decline is conducted in the species' native European range, but Europe encompasses a small portion of the species' current distribution. House Sparrow population trends in the United States and Canada, and the potential mechanisms driving these trends, remain relatively unexplored. We use 21 years of data from Project FeederWatch, a large-scale citizen science project, to investigate House Sparrow population trends in North America. We found winter flocks in urbanized areas were larger than flocks in rural areas, with widespread spatial heterogeneity in local population trends. Despite greater abundance in developed areas, House Sparrow populations declined in developed areas from 1995 to 2016 while remaining stable in rural areas. House Sparrow population declines coincide with an increase in populations and expansion of the winter distributions of Accipiter hawks, which are known predators of House Sparrows. However, we do not find a direct connection between the presence of Accipiter hawks at count sites and House Sparrow population declines in winter. These results expand our knowledge of widespread House Sparrow declines to North America and provide context for continuing research on House Sparrow declines in the introduced range.
... Domestic cats are the major predator of sparrows. In rural and urban areas, on average 30% of sparrow deaths were caused by cats [65]. This is evident from the study of 70 domestic cats (Felis catus) in a rural area, named Bedfordshire for one year. ...
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House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a common bird around human settlements. It is a cleft dweller; uses the clefts of tiled and palm roofs, ceilings, ventilators, behind the wall hanged photo-frames, electrical meter boxes for nesting. It is a secondary consumer in the food chain, feed on grains, flowers, and insects. House Sparrow became endangered species by its rapid decline during the past four decades. Habitat loss, selective hunting, Global warming are some of the causes for their decline. Changes in technological advancements reduce the availability of food to the sparrows in and around our habitats. Lack of food resources was the main reason for the decline of sparrows in London during the 1970s. In India, the population of house sparrows has been decreased over the past four decades. In the southern states such as Andhra Pradesh 80% decline was noticed. In some towns, they have completely vanished. Stressors, non-availability of food are some of the main causes for their decline in urban areas. Habitat destruction is the major cause for their extinction in the majority of the areas where the number has been reduced to a minimum level. Pesticides and pollutants entered into the food chain that leads to the mortality of nestlings. Electromagnetic radiation is also affecting the breeding behavior of birds. Several conservation measures have been suggested for their rebuild. One of the best solutions is providing artificial nest boxes. They fulfill their habitat loss and as well use them as breeding places. Besides, it is the role of every citizen to conserve House Sparrow. The present review mainly discusses the global scenario of House sparrows, the causes for their decline, and various conservation strategies.
... birds and 3. 74-198.9 mammals;Eberhard, 1954;Liberg, 1984;Barratt, 1997Barratt, , 1998Gillies and Clout, 2003;Woods et al., 2003;Kays and DeWan, 2004;Baker et al., 2005;Nelson et al., 2005;Baker et al., 2008;Churcher and Lawton, 2009;Morgan et al., 2009;van Heezik et al., 2010;Tschanz et al., 2011;Blancher, 2013;Woinarski et al., 2017;Krauze-Gryz et al., 2019). Our exceptionally high estimates of mammal predation by both owned and unowned cats are supported by studies that illustrate predation rates by individual unowned cats can exceed 200 mammals per year (Krauze-Gryz et al., 2019). ...
Article
Throughout much of the world, growing populations of free-ranging domestic cats pose an increasingly serious threat to biodiversity. However, no study has estimated the magnitude of wildlife mortality caused by cats in China, one of the largest and most biodiverse nations on earth. We used a novel, survey questionnaire-based approach to estimate annual predation on wildlife by cats in China; we separately considered predation rates in urban and rural areas and by both owned free-ranging cats and unowned cats (e.g., feral and semi-feral cats including those associated with feeding and trap-neuter-return (TNR) activities). Using statistical simulations based on 2187 questionnaire responses that included direct observations of prey returns to owners and predation events by unowned cats, we estimate that the minimum annual amount of predation by all free-ranging cats in China is: 1.61-4.95 billion invertebrates, 1.61 -3.58 billion fishes, 1.13-3.82 billion amphibians, 1.48-4.31 billion reptiles, 2.69-5.52 billion birds, and 3.61-9.80 billion mammals. Thus, we show that free-ranging cats cause a tremendous death that may be profoundly impacting China's wildlife populations and biodiversity. Our results indicate that there is an urgent need for increased research into the impacts of cats on wildlife in China, and for management and policy that reduces numbers of free-ranging cats and thus mitigates their harmful effects on China's wildlife.
... However, little research has taken diet content and prey availability into account at the same time. Many studies were carried out in mainland areas (George, 1974;Liberg, 1984;Weber & Dailly, 1998) and others on islands with a continental origin (Bonnaud et al., 2015;Churcher & Lawton, 1987;van der Ende et al., 2017;Lanszki et al., 2016). The greatest number was performed in Australia, mostly only taking into account the availability of a single main prey resource such as rabbits, mice or birds (Barratt, 1997;Catling, 1988;Hutchings, 2003;Molsher et al., 1999;Paltridge, 2002;Read & Bowen, 2001;Risbey et al., 1999). ...
Article
en Studies on feral cat diet offer important ecological information and are the first step towards determining their impact upon endangered species. However, in comparing seasonal changes in diet with seasonal prey availability, the scarce amount of research into oceanic islands worldwide must be considered when deciding if a specific population is actually affected by cat predation. Cat diet was analysed on Santa Luzia (Cabo Verde Islands) since this invasive predator is considered one of the main threats to native endangered species that require conservation measures. These previous studies were carried out in different seasons, providing contrasting results, skinks being more preyed upon in the rainy season and mice in the driest periods. To check these different results, we focussed on how cat diet varied seasonally in response to changes in prey abundance. Saurians were the most important prey group, followed by mice, invertebrates and birds. No seasonal differences were, however, observed in the different prey groups consumed, saurians being the main prey in both seasons. All cases reflected their respective abundances. Results corroborate the generalist and opportunistic trophic ecology of feral cats, providing important information to assess their impact on prey populations and design future eradication programmes. Résumé fr Les études sur le régime alimentaire des chats sauvages offrent des informations écologiques importantes et constituent la première étape vers la détermination de leur impact sur les espèces menacées. Cependant, le faible nombre de recherches portant sur la comparaison entre les changements saisonniers du régime alimentaire et la disponibilité saisonnière des proies réalisées sur les îles océaniques du monde entier doit être pris en compte pour décider si une population spécifique est réellement affectée par la prédation des chats. Le régime alimentaire des chats a été analysé à Santa Luzia (îles du Cap Vert) car ce prédateur envahissant est considéré comme l'une des principales menaces pesant sur les espèces indigènes en voie de disparition nécessitant des mesures de conservation. Ces études antérieures ont été menées à différentes saisons, fournissant des résultats contrastés, les scinques étant les proies principales pendant la saison des pluies et les souris pendant les périodes les plus sèches. Pour vérifier ces différents résultats, nous nous sommes concentrés sur la façon dont l'alimentation des chats variait selon les saisons en réponse aux variations en termes d'abondance des proies. Les sauriens constituaient le groupe de proies le plus important, suivis des souris, des invertébrés et des oiseaux. Aucune différence saisonnière n'a cependant été observée au sein des différents groupes de proies consommés, les sauriens étant la principale proie pendant les deux saisons. Tous les cas reflétaient leurs abondances respectives. Les résultats corroborent l'écologie trophique généraliste et opportuniste des chats sauvages, tout fournissant des informations importantes pour évaluer leur impact sur les populations de proies et concevoir de futurs programmes d'éradication.
... We did not address the potential role of increasing noise (Meillère et al. 2015a(Meillère et al. , 2015b, light (Dominoni et al. 2013) and/or electromagnetic pollutions (Balmori and Hallberg 2007;Balmori 2009;Singh et al. 2013). We also did not assess the influence of increasing domestic cat abundance (the other major predator of sparrows, which has increased from 9.76 million to 13.48 (+38%) between 1999 and 2015 in France; Churcher and Lawton 1987;Baker et al. 2005), increasing inter-specific competition with other urban exploiters (e.g. the Feral Pigeon Columba livia; Summers-Smith 2003 or the Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus; Goodwin 1960;Summers-Smith 2003), parasite spill-over from other urban dwellers (again, potentially from urban pigeon species; Bichet et al. 2013) or more generally the ongoing changes in urban bird communities in large cities (Blair 1996;Melles et al. 2003;Francis et al. 2009;Biadun and Zmihorski 2011;Galbraith et al. 2015). ...
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Increasing urbanisation and human pressure on lands have huge impacts on biodiversity. Some species, known as “urban exploiters”, manage to expand in urban landscapes, relying on human resources. The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is the perfect example of a human-commensal species. Surprisingly, this urban exploiter has been declining all over Europe over the past decades. The proximate causes of this decline remain poorly understood. We particularly lack understanding about urban habitat characteristics that are particularly unfavourable for House Sparrows. In the present study, we analysed fine-scale habitat characteristics of House Sparrow population sizes and trends using a fifteen-year House Sparrow census (2003–2017) covering the urban diversity of Paris (nearly 200 census sites), one of the densest European cities. We documented for the first time the dramatic decline (−89%) of the species in Paris over the study period. The temporal decline over the whole city correlates with the concomitant increase in the number of breeding Sparrowhawks. We could not detect statistical influences of annual variations in weather conditions and pollution. The decline of House Sparrows is spatially heterogeneous. Indeed, site-scale analyses revealed sharpest declines at sites that initially hosted the largest numbers of sparrows, which are areas with a relatively high proportion of green spaces and new buildings. Further experimental studies are now needed to disentangle the exact impact of specific characteristics of the urban environment on House Sparrow populations.
... Cat introductions have caused or contributed to 33 (14%) of the modern bird, mammal and reptile extinctions on islands recorded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Red List (Medina et al., 2011). Increasing evidences from three continents suggest that cats can also locally reduce the number of birds and mammals on the mainland (Crooks and Soulé, 1999;van Heezik et al., 2010;Pavisse and Vangeluwe, 2019) and contribute to a large part of the total mortality of wildlife (Baker et al., 2008;Churcher and Lawton, 2009). Moreover, free-ranging cats are vector in many diseases, including zoonoses such as rabies, toxoplasmosis, bartonellosis, and salmonellosis, resulting in serious health risks to humans and wildlife (Dabritz and Conrad, 2009;Taggart et al., 2019). ...
Article
The growing population of outdoor free-ranging cats poses increasing threats to biodiversity. While those threats are now well recognized, how human-cat interactions contribute to shape population dynamics have been overlooked. In this study, we explore major variables associated with the distribution of free-ranging cat density in 30 universities in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. We specifically focus on possible even greater care devoted by women to the free-ranging cats. We found that, as expected, the density of feeding stations is positively associated to the density of free-ranging cats. More interestingly, the density of male students versus female students seemed to be non-randomly associated with the distribution of cats among universities. An online questionnaire confirmed that women were more concerned about the living conditions of free-ranging cats than men in China. Finally, a socialization test focusing on 27 free-ranging cats conducted by female and male observers suggests that cats may have the ability to adopt a friendlier behavior with female students. Our result suggests that human-cat relationships can be understood using multiple angles, including population dynamics, behavioral ecology and conservation psychology. Such a better understanding of human-cat interactions is necessary to develop relevant population management in urban context.
... The ecological impacts of domestic cats are not limited to islands or wilderness areas. Cats in urban areas prey on native species and can occur at densities much greater than that of native carnivores (Churcher and Lawton 1987;Coleman and Temple 1993;Burton and Doblar 2004;Lepczyk et al. 2004). For example, Balogh et al. (2011) reported that domestic cats were responsible for 47% of known predation events on radiotracked Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) fledglings, and Flockhart et al. (2016) estimated a cat density of up to 49 cats/ ha in Guelph, Canada. ...
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Free-ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) cats kill billions of wild animals every year, spread parasites and diseases to both wildlife and humans, and are responsible for the extinction or extirpation of at least 63 species. While the ecology and conservation implications of free-ranging cats have been well studied in some locations, relatively little is known about cats inhabiting suburban nature preserves in the United States. To address this knowledge gap, we used camera traps to study the occupancy and activity patterns of free-ranging cats in 55 suburban nature preserves in the Chicago, IL metropolitan area. From 2010 to 2018 (4440 trap days), we recorded 355 photos of free-ranging cats at 41 randomly distributed monitoring points (ψnaïve = 0.18) within 26 preserves (ψnaïve = 0.45). Cats were detected every year, but rarely at the same point or preserve, and cats were active during day and night. Cat occupancy increased with building density and detectability was highest near preserve boundaries. Based on our top-ranked model, predicted occupancy within individual preserves ranged from 0.07 to 0.42 (ψmean = 0.12) depending on the year. Overall, our results suggest that free-ranging cats are rare within suburban preserves in our study area, and that these cats are most likely owned or heavily subsidized by people (which pose different risks and management challenges than feral cats). We discuss the conservation and management implications for suburban natural areas.
... Their contentions are wrong. Cats receive human subsidies in the form of food and shelter that make them nonresource limited (Churcher & Lawton 1987;Crooks & Soulé 1999;Schmidt et al. 2007). This allows cat population densities to far outpace densities of similar-sized native predators (Nowell & Jackson 1996;Liberg et al. 2000;Beutel et al. 2017); estimates range from 0.27 to 13.3 cats/km 2 (Legge et al. 2017;Hand 2019). ...
Article
Article Impact Statement: Billions of native animal lives should not be ended by invasive species, even if we feel bad about eradication. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Thesis
In the last decades the human population has grown exponentially and nearly three quarters of the land without ice is now dominated by anthropogenic biomes. Its presence and activity have led to altered ecosystems, leading to their destruction or fragmentation. These changes have enormous negative consequences on the wild populations, both directly and indirectly, that in a final stage can lead to the extinction of entire wild populations. In this study we aim to obtain a general view over the consequences of human-induced threats to the wild vertebrates (birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians) populations in the Northern of Portugal, based on data collected from a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. The method of Partial Least Squares-Path Modelling (PLS-PM) was used to determine the impact of anthropogenic pressures in those populations. From 2008 to 2017 a total 6058 native wild birds, 359 wild mammals, 66 reptiles and 12 amphibians were admitted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Parque Biológico of Gaia (Portugal), death or that died after admitted. Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto were the regions on Northern Portugal more affected by anthropogenic pressures and where more death animals were collected. The main cause of admission was due injured animals, in all the classes studied. Spring and summer were the seasons when more animals were admitted. The main cause of mortality was due to trauma (mostly trauma of unknow origin). The PLS-PM results identified as most significant pressures, the number of small and medium companies in the municipalities, both in traumatic and non-traumatic deaths. Although the pattern of weights is similar regardless of the general cause of death, traumatic causes seem to play a more prominent role given the larger weights in the relevant specific causes (number of companies). The high coefficients of determination (R2 > 0,8) reveal that the variance of wild bird mortality is largely explained by the variance of the pressures, which indicates a cause-effect relationship between the independent (pressures) and dependent (mortality) variables. The study of the necropsy and observed lesions confirmed the previous data. In the post-mortem exam the main system affected was the musculoskeletal and integument systems. The main lesions observed were related to trauma and most of them we could related to human origin. The majority of the lesions in the birds and bats were related to the impact with infrastructures, predation by domestic pets’(dog and cat) or entrapment. In mammals it was particularly related to collision with vehicles. In 170 wild animals (126 mammals and 44 birds) admitted to the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro University Laboratory of Histology and Pathology, 2009-2019,victims of being run over, the most commonly observed injuries were: hemorrhages, fractures, bruises and head trauma. The use of a sophisticated statistical method PLS-PM and its incorporation into a Geographic Information System (GIS) revealed to be an important tool for analysing wildlife impacts of environmental and human factors. The results obtained indicate that there is a substantial negative impact of human activity on wild bird mortality. The data presented constitute a valuable tool to promote wildlife conservation in Northern Portugal. It may provide an insight in the health of ecosystems, in order to help educating people to value the biodiversity existent in these areas and find new strategies to help to recover and protect many of this species. In the future, more comprehensive studies should be enhanced within other regions of the national territory comprising different populations in order to identify the main anthropogenic pressures in different study areas. It is necessary at the same the integration of other knowledge areas such as population genetics, diseases, ecology and others.
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Context Domestic cats (Felis catus) are efficient and abundant non-native predators, recently labelled as primary contributors to global biodiversity loss. Aims Specific research goals included determining the proportion of hunters, estimating hunting efficiency, identifying primary prey and examining predictors of kill rate and efficacy. Methods We investigated hunting of wildlife by stray cats living in managed outdoor colonies on a barrier island in the southeastern USA, and monitored 29 stray cats seasonally in 2014 and 2015 using Kittycam video cameras. Key results In total, 24 cats exhibited hunting behaviour and 18 captured prey. The estimated average daily predation rate from these successful hunters was 6.15 kills per 24-h period. Hunting effectiveness (percentage of capture attempts that translate to a kill) was an average of 44%. The most common type of prey captured was invertebrate (primarily Orthopteran and Hemipteran insects), followed by amphibians and reptiles. Eighty-three percent of kills occurred between dusk and dawn. Conclusions Colony location (near undeveloped island habitat) was related to higher kill rates. Cat sex and nocturnal hunting activity were related to greater hunting efficiency. Implications These results address the significant gap in knowledge about stray cat hunting activities, and raise conservation concerns for some groups of organisms (reptiles and amphibians) that have not been widely identified as vulnerable to cat predation.
Article
Weather conditions are recognized as one of key determinants of animal reproductive performance; however, the effect of weather on breeding success can be modulated by different features of breeding habitat. Constantly expanding urban areas cause significant changes in land cover and environmental conditions, but whether and how urban landscape mitigates weather impact on animal fitness remains little explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between weather parameters and reproductive performance in a reed-nesting waterbird species, the Eurasian coot Fulica atra. For this purpose, we performed a long-term monitoring of an urban coot population from central Poland, collecting data for over 400 breeding events. The results indicated that temperature may have contrasting effects on coot reproductive output at different stages of chick-rearing period (positive at early chick-rearing and negative at late chick-rearing). Also, contrary to our expectation, we found a positive relationship between mean daily precipitation in early chick-rearing period and reproductive output in our study population. Our study constitutes one of few examples showing how weather may affect fitness in urban wildlife and provides evidence for high complexity of associations between weather conditions and animal reproductive performance.
Article
Although attention to domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) behavior and cognition has increased in recent years, numerous questions remain regarding their play. Few studies have included play as a variable of interest, and to the best of our knowledge no behavioral studies focusing on cat play have been published in the last 15 years, and there is no recent review of our current understanding of its development, behavioral components, function, or outstanding research questions. This is despite the accessibility of the cat as a convenient model for more difficult to study members of the Carnivora, as recognized by pioneering studies of cat play in the 1970s and 1980s. We address this gap by reviewing and synthesizing the existing literature on play development, identifying and discussing eliciting factors and possible functions of play in cats. Additionally, we conducted an extensive review of the literature to identify how play has been operationalized in peer-reviewed publications (N = 46). We identified 138 behaviors measured in these studies, with 84 of them unique behavioral labels. Our findings demonstrate the diversity—and sometimes commonalities—of descriptions of play behavior across these studies, while highlighting the challenge of inconsistent operationalization of cat play in the literature. We conclude by proposing and exploring several open questions and offering suggestions for future research, particularly related to pet cats.
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Landscape features such as roads, hiking trails, and forest edge are prevalent features of urban forests. These features can negatively influence biodiversity through fragmentation and facilitate the penetration of invasive species, particularly predators such as domestic dogs and cats. This study examined how these landscape features affect the distribution of native and domestic mammals and how domestic species affect the occupancy and activity patterns of native mammals. To this end, we conducted camera trap surveys in forested urban and suburban parks in Indiana and Kentucky, USA, to record the presence of native species (deer, raccoons, coyote, and opossums) and non-native predators (domesticated cats and dogs) in relation to distance to nearest roads, hiking trails, and forest edge. We found negative correlations between proximity to roads, hiking trails, and forest edge and the occupancy of the native species with this effect extending up to 300 m. We also found evidence that the presence of dog and cat was negatively correlated with the occupancy for all native species. We recommend park management consider the impact of roads, hiking trails, and forest edge when designing parks and the enforcement of dog leash regulations for the conservation of large mammals in urban parks.
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Domestic cats (Felis catus) have contributed to the extinction of indigenous species worldwide, but impacts in Africa are unstudied. We compare prey returned home from three questionnaire surveys (2009, 2010 and 2013/14) in Cape Town, South Africa, with footage from some of the same cats wearing animal-borne video cameras (KittyCams), to assess differences in actual predation vs. returns. Cape Town borders Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), so cats may prey on animals in a protected area. Urban edge (UE) and deep urban cats (DU) did not differ in predation rates, but the suite of species differed significantly. KittyCams revealed that most predation was nocturnal, and only 18% of prey recorded on video were returned home, thus, cats kill 5.56 times more animals (averaged across all taxa) than returns data suggest. Reptiles constituted 50% of prey, but only 17% of returns; mammals constituted 24% of prey, but 54% of returns. Non-native species represented only 6% and 17% of animals killed by UE and DU cats, respectively, pointing to a high cost of cat predation for native fauna. Applying a correction factor of 5.56, the average domestic cat in Cape Town kills c. 90 (95% CI = 59, 123), animals.year⁻¹. Thus, the approximately 300 000 domestic cats in Cape Town kill c. 27.5 million animals.year⁻¹, and TMNP is likely to lose c. 203 500 animals to UE cats annually from within its boundaries. The scale of this predation necessitates conservation options to minimise impacts of cats on wildlife, particularly near protected areas.
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La manipulación con fines científicos de vertebrados terrestres en poblaciones naturales chilenas se debe realizar previa autorización del SAG y de Comités de Bioética institucionales. Obtener dichas autorizaciones es cada vez más complejo; los trámites no se adecúan al quehacer científi co ni al conocimiento sobre el efecto de la manipulación en las poblaciones naturales. El objetivo de este comentario es contribuir a una discusión en pos del establecimiento de una normativa de manipulación científica de vertebrados terrestres ajustada a la realidad biológica y que no entorpezca la investigación científica.
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RESUMEN La manipulación con fi nes científi cos de vertebrados terrestres en poblaciones naturales chilenas se debe realizar previa autorización del SAG y de Comités de Bioética institucionales. Obtener dichas autorizaciones es cada vez más complejo; los trámites no se adecúan al quehacer científi co ni al conocimiento sobre el efecto de la manipulación en las poblaciones naturales. El objetivo de este comentario es contribuir a una discusión en pos del establecimiento de una normativa de manipulación científi ca de vertebrados terrestres ajustada a la realidad biológica y que no entorpezca la investigación científi ca. ABSTRACT In Chile, the manipulation for scientifi c purposes of terrestrial vertebrates from natural populations is conducted previous authorization of the Agricultural and Livestock Service and various Bioethics Committees. Obtaining such authorizations is becoming increasingly complex. The procedures do not fi t the reality of scientifi c work, and they seem to be based on unjustifi ed assessments of the effects of animal handling on natural populations. The aim of this commentary is to initiate a discussion in order to establish a norm of scientifi c manipulation of terrestrial vertebrates adjusted to biological reality and that does not interfere with scientifi c research.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the epidemiology of cat populations and the unique features that contribute to the surplus of cats, as well as providing an evidence‐based review of the controversies surrounding their management. Cats’ unique and impressive reproductive capabilities, coupled with their ability to survive and even thrive in most environments, have resulted in a population of millions of outdoor cats that present a number of management challenges for the communities in which they reside. Significant concern exists regarding the individual cats’ health and welfare, their role in disease transmission, nuisance behaviors, and their impact on wildlife and the environment. Public opinion on the cats and the strategy most appropriate for their management remains divided and can be highly contentious. Opinions on the most appropriate method(s) for the management of community cats vary significantly, although most people recognize the need for some type of intervention.
Article
Capsule: A ten-year study of the causes of mortality in birds brought to a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Portugal, reveals that most deaths were due to trauma. Aims: This study aims to identify the main causes of morbidity and mortality in wild birds admitted to a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Northern Portugal, from 2008 to 2017. Methods: A total of 6058 records of admittance and necropsy were examined. Results: In the 24 orders present in the study, the most commonly reported were the Charadriiformes (34.1%) and Passeriformes (28.7%). The majority were adult individuals (80%) and most admissions were in the summer (43.1%). The main causes of admission were birds being injured (57%) and orphaned (18.3%). Trauma was also the most important cause of death (57%), followed by predation (1.6%) and collision with buildings (1.6%). The non-traumatic causes of death (2606, 43%) were mainly of unknown origin (22.2%) and infectious diseases (10%). Conclusion: The data analysed in our study allowed us to conclude that the main causes of morbidity and mortality of the birds admitted was due to trauma. This kind of study can provide useful information on population and ecosystem health to inform conservation practices.
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The foods of feral house cats in forest in the Orongorongo Valley, Wellington, were studied over 3 years and related to the availability of prey. Some cats were trapped, tagged, and released, and could be identified individually by coat colour and pattern. The number of cats, estimated from live-trapping and sightings, was stable during the study. Examination of 677 scats revealed that mammals (rat, rabbit, opossum, mouse, and stoat, in descending order of importance) formed the bulk of the diet by weight. Remains of birds occurred in 12% of scats, but birds were estimated to form only 4.5% by weight of the diet. Insect fragments were present in many scats; wetas (Orthoptera), cicadas (Hemiptera), and beetles (Colcoptera) were important seasonally. Although eaten in large numbers, they contributed very little by weight to the diet. Populations of rats, rabbits, and opossums were fairly stable during the study; mice were abundant for most of the first 18 months, but were scarce in the last year. The literature on the food habits of feral house cats is reviewed; it emphasises that cats are primarily predators of small mammals (rodents and lagomorphs). Predation by feral cats can be important in holding rat and rabbit populations at low densities and in reducing seasonal fluctuations in their numbers. Cats can also exert heavy predation pressure on low-density mouse populations. Although the cats now eat few birds, they may have been responsible for reducing the numbers of some forest birds in the past.
Article
Spacing patterns in a population of domestic and feral cats in a rural area in southern Sweden were investigated by visual observations, trapping and radio tracking. Females lived alone or in groups around human households. Within each female group the home ranges almost completely overlapped, but between different female groups there was little or no overlap. Most females remained in the same place all their lives, but a few individuals moved and became established at new households, invariably one where there were no other female cats. There were always six to eight feral, well established males in the area, with moderately overlapping home ranges. These ranges were considerably larger than those of females, and one male might include several female groups within his home range. Young males, born in the area, stayed with the female group, where they were born until they were 1.5-3 yr old. They then left and tried to settle somewhere else. Spacing patterns in this cat population can be explained by the influence of proximate and ultimate factors, among which intraspecific aggression and adaptation to living in human households are the most important. Parallel evolution of lion and house cat social organizations is discussed. /// Характер прерывистого распраделения популяции домашних и диких кошек в сельской местности южной Швеции изучали путем визуальных наблюдений, отлова и радиослежения. Самки живут в одиночку или группами вокруг жилья человека. Внутри каждий группы самок домовые участки почти польностью перекрываются, но между отдельными группами перекрывание отсутствует или незначительно. Большинство самок остается на одном месте в течение всей своей жизни, но некоторые особи мигрируют и обосновываются у новых жилищ, но неизменно там, где нет других самок. На одном участке всегда имеется 6-8 диких котов с умеренно перекрывающимися домовыми участками. Эти участки значительно больше, чем у самок. Участок одного самца может бмещать территории несколько их групп самок. Молодые коты, родившнеся в определенном участке, остаются в группе самок, где они роднлись до 1,5-3-летнего возраста. Затем они полидают его и основувают свое поселение в другом месте. Прерывистый характер распределения в данной популрции кошек может может буть обьяснен влиянием проксимальных и ультимативных факторов, среди которых наиболее существенны внутривидовая агрессия и адаптация к обитанию в жилищах человека. Обсуждается параллельная эволюция социальной организации у львов и домашних кошек.
Article
(1) Live trapping of populations of Clethrionomys glareolus (Schr.) and Apodemus sylvaticus (L.) to obtain capture/recapture data for estimating population size was unsatisfactory except possibly in the winter. (2) Sampling with 264 traps at 15 m intervals on a square grid was more satisfactory than using 288 traps at ninety-six random positions on the same grid. (3) For both species chance of capture was not equal throughout the population, due partly to the presence of trap-prone and trap-shy animals, temporary emigration, differential capture of males due to greater range than females. Juveniles below 13 g weight were rarely caught, and at different times of the year a varying proportion of the total field population remained unsampled. (4) A 2-day prebait followed by a single trapping gives the best compromise for large captures and estimates with least bias and least field work. (5) The frequency of capture data are fitted by the truncated negative binomial distribution, the parameters of which may permit estimation of population size over a period. (6) The duration of residence data from trappings made at equal intervals are fitted by a modified geometric distribution. The parameters of this enable estimation of a total population, although further work is needed to investigate the validity of population estimates obtained by this method. (7) Population size and changes, distribution, sex ratio and reproductive data, overwinter weight loss, seasonal weight distribution, and survival rates are given.
Article
The domestic cat (FeZis catus) was introduced into the United States over 150 years ago. Imported in small numbers for the primary purpose of con- trolling rodents in our eastern seaboard cities, cats remained scarce for many years. Now an estimated 31 million cats exist across the country (American Humane Association, 1972), and rural cats probably rival in numbers all other large predators combined east of the Great Plains, west of the Sierra Nevada, and in various other localities. In terms of impact on the avifauna, cats may pose little direct threat, for they are reported to kill relatively few birds in most situations (Table 1). Yet as predators on rodents, cats inevi- tably compete for prey with many of our declining raptors, and therein may lie a serious problem. Cats are formidable competitors, able to kill rodents at a great and rapid rate. For example, the removal in eight months of over 4200 mice from a 35-acre study plot was ascribed principally to six cats by Pearson (1964). I am not suggesting a cause-and-effect relationship exists between the his- torical increase of cats and the historical decrease of raptors; however, cats, which are as efficient in their way as guns and DDT, accompany and add another dimension to man's encroachment into wildlife areas. The effects of cat abundance in and about wildlife areas should be monitored as a matter of prudence, especially in view of the decline (see Arbib, 1972) of such for- merly "common" raptors as the Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo Zineatus), Red- tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis) , Marsh Hawk (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrel (P&o sparverius), each of which feeds on rodents to a marked de- gree (May, 1935; MacAtee, 1935). Most environments in rural America have suffered drastic and repeated alterations; many may be unable today to generate prey in sufficient den- sities to sustain both raptors and significant numbers of cats. I decided to probe this possibility when a female cat and two of her offspring killed an impressive number of mammals at my home in southern Illinois. I have studied continuously the predation by these cats over the past six years. During this time, shortages in the mammalian prey of hawks have appeared consistently in the cats' hunting grounds each winter. The present report describes and discusses the annual and seasonal predation by these cats from 1 January 1968 through 31 December 1971. Their predation on non-mam- malian vertebrates (various birds, reptiles, and frogs) is tabulated to round out the account.
Article
Thesis (M.A. in Zoology)--University of California, Berkeley, July 1950. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 17-18). Microfilm.
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