Pest Eradication Program marks 10-year milestone

Minister for Parks

Pest Eradication Program marks 10-year milestone

17 September 2021

The Tasman Island Pest Eradication Program has reached a major milestone, marking 10 years since the island was declared free from feral cats.

The successful program to eradicate feral cats from the 120-hectare island began in 2008 with a plan to help restore the island’s natural values and was completed in 2009.

Baiting on the island was undertaken on 3 May 2010, followed by trapping and hunting, with the last of the island’s feral cats trapped on 15 May 2010.

A year of intensive monitoring followed using cameras, detector dogs and volunteers searching for signs of cats.

Before the success of this program, feral cats were killing between 30,000 and 60,000 fairy prions per year, along with a significant number of short-tailed shearwaters.

Monitoring of short-tailed shearwater burrows indicates the population has more than doubled to an estimated 15,000 pairs since the feral cats were removed 10 years ago.

It is likely the fairy prion population has also doubled to around 1 million pairs, with evidence of increased breeding activity indicating significantly more chicks fledging compared to when cats were present.

It is wonderful to see this dramatic increase of sea birds on the island, which is expected to continue to increase going forward since the feral cats’ removal.

I congratulate the staff and volunteers of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service for this magnificent achievement and for their ongoing work to ensure the island remains feral cat free.

I also thank Pennicott Wilderness Journeys for their inspiring contributions and significant funding donations to Wildcare which enabled this outstanding project to get off the ground. Well done all for this significant milestone.