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Assessment of potential impact of domestic cats on small mammals in a protected insular area

In: Animal Biology
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  • 1 Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia – IPeC. Rua Tristão Lobo 199 Centro, , Cananéia, SP. 11990-000, , Brazil
  • | 2 Laboratório de Bioacústica e Ecologia Comportamental – LABEC, Univ. Federal de Juiz de Fora – UFJF, , Juiz de Fora, MG. 36036-900, , Brazil
  • | 3 Conselho Nacional de Defesa Ambiental – CNDA. Rua Dr. Renato Paes de Barros, , 512 – cj. 131, São Paulo, SP. 04530.000, , Brazil
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Abstract

The presence of domestic cats in natural areas is considered one of the main reasons for species loss, especially on islands and among native small non-volant mammals, birds and reptiles. However, in this study, we detected values opposite to those expected for species richness, abundance, and diversity among different areas when considering the presence or absence and density of these felines. We also observed that in the evaluated environments, prey availability did not influence consumption of small mammal species. Our results reinforce the theory of domestic cats’ behaviour as being opportunistic and generalist predators. In addition, we only recorded the presence of exotic species in the faeces of cats; that is, we did not capture exotic species in the traps. The close relationship between these exotic species and anthropogenic environments indicates that felines are likely hunting in areas close to the homes where they live. Assessing the impact of predation by domestic cats on native fauna is important for the development and implementation of strategic resource management and to minimize long-term impacts.

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