About a dozen cats have been tracked with GPS collars and cameras as part of a 3-month research project in the Appleby area of Tasman District. Researchers were looking into the impact of cats on wildlife around the Waimea Estuary.

One of the researchers, Dr Heidy​ Kikillus of Victoria University, told the Nelson Mail that cats are roaming opportunistic hunters which, despite owners’ beliefs, do not stay on their home turf.

Ro Cambridge, who managed the Appleby trial, said the intention was not to demonise cats, but to improve understanding of the issue and encourage responsible cat ownership.

During the research project, all landowners bordering the Waimea Inlet were informed and cat owners were offered free microchipping for their pets.

Ten traps were set over three weeks and three feral cats were caught and euthanised.

A joint committee of councillors form Tasman District and Nelson City is currently preparing a Regional Pest Management Plan.

An online survey, with 2600 cat and non-cat responders, showed half supported cats being registered, nearly 89 per cent backed mandatory de-sexing and 70 per cent mandatory microchipping.

» Management plan keeps track of ‘killer’ cats

8 July 2016