Cats were brought to New Zealand in the ships of early European explorers, from 1769 onwards. Despite their early introduction into New Zealand, they did not become feral here until at least 50 years later. Feral Cats predate on possums, rodents, rabbits, birds and reptiles. They also feed on invertebrates to a lesser extent. Native and introduced birds form a large part of their diet.
Reasons for the Strategy
Feral Cats are a major predator of native birds and animals, and are having a significant impact on the biodiversity values of the Tasman-Nelson region. They can carry bovine tuberculosis, and can spread disease to sheep (toxoplasmosis), resulting in the abortion of lambs.
Feral Cats are assessed at “8” on the infestation curve. Given the widespread distribution of Feral Cats, the best option is to educate and advise the public about their impact and control. The Strategy will only target Feral Cats outside residential areas. The control of domesticated cats in residential areas for nuisance purposes is not part of this Strategy. Assistance to land occupiers will include instruction in the field on control techniques. Extensive areas of suitable habitat, and the potential for them to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of containment control far outweigh the costs.
To address the adverse effects of Feral Cats in the Tasman- Nelson region during the term of the Strategy.
The principal alternative measure is to adopt a greater level of regional intervention, such as requiring land occupiers to control Feral Cats. However, this option is considered inappropriate, given the widespread distribution of Feral Cats.
Strategy Rule for Feral Cats
The Management Agency will promote and encourage control.
Biosecurity Act Requirement
No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Feral Cats, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.