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Improved breeding success of Great-winged Petrels Pterodroma macroptera following control of feral cats Felis catus at subantarctic Marion Island

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2010

André Fourie
Affiliation:
Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa.
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A population of feral domestic cats Felis catus has existed at subantarctic Marion Island since 1951. From 1977 to 1990 an ongoing programme has utilized an introduced disease, shooting and gin-trapping in an endeavour to control cat numbers, with the eventual aim of their eradication. Burrowing petrels (Procellariidae) form the majority of the cats' diet. The breeding success of the winter-breeding Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera has varied between nil and 20.5% in the period from 1979 to 1984, due primarily to cat predation of chicks causing up to 100% mortality. In 1990, by which time cat numbers had been greatly reduced from their 1970s' peak, Great-winged Petrels had a breeding success of 59.6%, with chick mortality being zero. No signs of cat predation were observed. This finding provides good reason to continue the control programme until cats are finally eradicated from Marion Island.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Birdlife International 1991

References

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Improved breeding success of Great-winged Petrels Pterodroma macroptera following control of feral cats Felis catus at subantarctic Marion Island
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