The domestic cat was introduced into Aotearoa – New Zealand by European settlers in the mid 19th century.
In our district, Nelson Lakes, and its surrounds, like so many other rural areas, cats have been released to control wild rabbits and other vermin since early farming days. These cats have successfully colonised these areas and have become truly wild and very successful predators, arguably our apex imported predator.
A draft document by Members of the National Cat Management Strategy Group (NCMSG) estimates we now have at least 2.5 million feral cats in Aotearoa – New Zealand.
Members of the Friends of Rotoiti (FOR) have been informally trapping feral cats for the last 9 years. This was formalised 3 years ago with the purchase of 24 live capture traps and the establishment of records. We are currently also using 18 DOC traps which takes our total number of traps to 36. Traps are usually baited with fresh rabbit meat and checked once a day. Live capture traps are used to avoid damaging native wildlife. In our area we are particularly concerned about weka, kea, kiwi and kaka. We are currently working on kill traps that will be safe for native birds, will require only fortnightly inspections and can be used in remote parts of the Park.