It’s no furphy, Felixer grooming traps nail feral cats

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
The Felixer grooming trap uses a series of Light Detection and Ranging sensors to determine if an animal walking past is a feral cat or a non-target species. Photo: Supplied
Camera IconThe Felixer grooming trap uses a series of Light Detection and Ranging sensors to determine if an animal walking past is a feral cat or a non-target species. Photo: Supplied

Look out, kitty cats! A successful first trial has confirmed Felixer grooming traps are safe to deploy around the South West to control the growing feral cat population.

South West Catchment Council threatened species program manager Brian Chambers said the Felixer trap was the most promising development he had seen for controlling feral cats.

The trap uses a series of light detection and ranging sensors to determine whether a passing animal is a feral cat or a non-target species.

An animal identified to be a feral cat would have a sticky poisonous gel shot on to its fur from the trap to ingest later when grooming itself.

“Feral cats are a significant threat to many of our native species in the South West,” Dr Chambers said.

“What we are trying to identify with the trials is what the best way to deploy Felixers is and how we can manage them in areas to get the best knockdown of cats.”

SWCC and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions completed trials with captive numbats at Perth Zoo to ensure the traps identified the animals as non-targets.

Traps set in safe mode were placed in numbat exhibits for 11 days.

During this time, numbats walked past the Felixers more than 750 times and every time they were classified as non-targets.

“When we first put them out in the bush early next year we will be running them initially in their safe mode, which is camera-only, for six weeks,” Dr Chambers said.

“We will use that period to make sure that they are correctly identifying all of the native species as non-targets and would only be targeting cats.”

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