Cradle Coast Authority's Natural Resource Management team work toward removing Three Hummock's feral cats

A feral cat caught on wildlife monitoring equipment on Three Hummock Island. Picture: Cradle Coast NRM
A feral cat caught on wildlife monitoring equipment on Three Hummock Island. Picture: Cradle Coast NRM

In an effort to rehabilitate a population of endemic Australian birds on one Tasmanian island, authorities want to eradicate feral cats.

The hooded plover exists only in the south of Australia and numbers of the birds on Three Hummock Island in Bass Strait have been greatly impacted by humans.

The Cradle Coast Authority's Natural Resource Management team were able to recently restart work to protect the population following the pandemic travel restrictions.

Planning coordinator Iona Flett said the removal of cats from the island could see a great benefit to the native species.

"If we manage to remove feral cats from the island, it will be a bit of a safe haven for native wildlife, like birds that nest on beaches and in burrows like Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters," Ms Flett said.

"Other birds that don't nest there currently might even turn up and start to use the island."

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"We're looking at a range of cat control methods that have been used in other places, and seeking the advice of cat control experts in Tasmania and on the mainland as we plan the best course of attack."

Ms Flett said the hooded plovers pair up in the spring to raise young.

"They pair up and make a little "scrape" of a nest in the spring, and raise a few chicks.

"Their eggs and chicks are extremely well camouflaged and can be stepped or driven on very easily.

"That's why we ask people to walk on the wet sand only, on our region's beaches, between September and March."

An NRM spokesperson said Three Hummock Island is a "wild, remote place" which is managed by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service as a state reserve.

But there are still many human impacts.

A golf ball from the Seabrook golf course at Wynyard, over 100km away, was found washed up on one of the island's beaches.

This story For the sake of island life, the feral cats must go first appeared on The Advocate.