Early settlers introduced cats to king island and

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Early settlers introduced cats to King Island and today feral cats are widespread on the Island. They may have had an impact on various threatened fauna on the Island including the Green and Gold Frog, Orange-bellied Parrot, King Island Brown Thornbill and King Island Scrubtit. Little is known regarding the exact nature of the impact of feral cats on the Island’s threatened fauna. Preliminary studies of feral cat stomach contents indicate a diet of 40% either Pademelon or Wallaby, 30% Black Rat and House Mouse, and 15% birds (Whisson 2009). Whisson indicates that further study on the distribution and abundance of priority species and activity of cats in different habitats on King Island would elucidate which species are vulnerable to cat predation. Predation by introduced rats Predation by introduced rats represents a potential threat to the island's native fauna, particularly to native skinks and ground nesting shorebirds and burrow-nesting bird species such as petrels (Brothers 1984; Pye at al. 1999). The Black Rat ( Rattus rattus ) is likely to be more of a threat to native fauna as this species is able to establish self-sustaining populations in native vegetation considerable distances away from human habitation (Pye et al. 1999; Mallick and Driessen 2010). Successful attempts to control feral cat numbers are likely to result in an increase in introduced rat numbers on King Island, which may in turn exacerbate potential impacts of rats on the island's native and threatened fauna (Pye et al. 1999). Predation by Crows Forest Ravens ( Corvus tasmanicus), known locally as Crows, may have arrived on the Island during the 1950’s and it is presumed that since then the Crow population has steadily grown. Local observations suggest that artificially elevated populations of Crows are maintained today through abundant food sources, such as road kill, and by the predation of hatchlings of ground-nesting birds. Crows have been observed by King Island residents stealing eggs and actively predating on the young of bird species, including Plovers, Little Penguins and Shearwaters. 14 Crows may be impacting on some of the Island’s threatened species. Assessment of the relative impact of Crows on the Island’s threatened fauna would be required before the development of any management actions. 14 A number of observations of egg stealing and predating on young chicks by Crows have been reported during the compilation of the Plan by local fishermen, bird watchers, farmers etc. Observations have not been collected as part of a systematic survey. King Island Biodiversity Management Plan 28
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Browsing and trampling by Bennett’s wallabies and Brushtail possums Since the development of King Island for agriculture there has been an explosion in the number of Bennett’s Wallabies and Brushtail Possums. It is estimated that between 440,000 and 535,000 Bennett’s Wallabies forage on pasture (Branson 2008a). This figure does not include the additional animals grazing in native vegetation on pastoral properties, public reserves and other sites. Similarly the number of Brushtail Possums is high, with a fairly even
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  • Fall '14
  • The Hours, ........., Threatened species, Bass Strait, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, King Island

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