Should hunters be allowed into Kakadu to shoot cats?

Published: October 22, 2015
Grey nomads asked about unters and feral cats in Kakdu

Allowing shooting groups in to Kakadu is one of the measures being considered to help control the burgeoning feral cat problem in the Northern Territory’s most iconic national park.

Scientists say hundreds of small native mammal species, including quolls and bandicoots, are hunted by the cats and the director of National Parks in the Northern Territory, Sally Barnes, believes licensed shooters may have a role to play – as long as they’re well-controlled.

She told a Senate estimates hearing that the idea was in its very early stages and said that, if it were to be implemented, it would only happen as part of a greater push to control feral cats in the world heritage-listed park.

“In the Commonwealth national parks, we’re looking at where we can use a range of partners … Kakadu board of management is keen to look at using sporting shooters and a range of others as well,” she said. “The other thing is the traditional owners also are looking at what they do in terms of controlling cats, but we’re going to be talking to local sporting associations.”

Graeme Gillespie, the director of terrestrial ecosystems with the flora and fauna division of the Northern Territory Government, told the ABC that conservation biologists and mammal ecologists agreed that cats were the primary cause of the decline of native mammals and native birds in northern Australia.

He said hunting or shooting – whether recreational or professional – does have its role to play in controlling certain feral animals, but cautioned that feral cats were extremely difficult to manage and control as they are small, occur at low densities, and – as they are very shy and cryptic – are hard to find.

“There have been trials done both in the Northern Territory and elsewhere in the world to look at the efficacy of hunting to control feral cats and certainly on its own, it’s unlikely to be very effective,” he told the ABC. “That’s because the number of cats that you’re able to actually find and dispatch is going to be very, very low in relation to the number that are out there, and in relation to their breeding rate.”

* Is allowing shooters into our national parks the answer to the feral cat problem?   Comment below.

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Phil Stephens
6 years ago

YES, with some controls in place.

Bow hunters are the best. they are silent, and get close enough to identify their targets, and kill humanely.

There are bow hunting clubs all over Australia, and I am sure they would be happy to be considered.

Feral cats are a huge menace, and while I am a cat lover, I know these things need to be exterminated to save native species. They grow to incredible sizes, are quite dangerous, and are lethal to smaller wildlife.

neil mcfarlane
6 years ago

no way. hunters would never even come close to making a dent in the cat population.
Keep guns out of our Nat Parks

James Flaherty
6 years ago

The sporting Shooters Association of Australia has a farmers assist programme that farmers are put in touch with licenced shooters that have to meet and be assessed with appropriate skills to assist in controlling feral pest.
The Victorian national parks already use them in programmes of feral pest eradication and have been very successful.
Great Idea

Rob
5 years ago

It’s common sense and should have been implemented years ago
Recreational Hunters have been controlling wild deer and other game animals in NZ for almost 100 years.
What is up with Australian National Parks where they are essentially closed off to the public apart from designated look outs and such. Nanny State at work again.

mick field
5 years ago

I’m not against shooters being allowed in National Parks to control pigs but I think cats are too smart for shooters. Better option is to use Curiosity bait. Apparently good results were found on Tasman Island to exterminate the cat population that was rampant there. Should be using it all over Australia against foxes and cats

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