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1 April 2010 Public Perceptions of Feral Cats within an Urban Conservancy on a Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal
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The Howard College Campus (HCC) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is a registered Conservancy and houses the Msinsi Nature Reserve. A resident population of feral cats (Felis catus) resides on campus. There are two opposing views about these animals; one is that, by killing birds, lizards and small mammals, they negatively affect native wildlife, another is that management efforts, such as feeding and sterilization, minimize predation on wildlife and control cat numbers. The outcome of this debate is crucial in developing long-term management goals for the campus Conservancy. This study represents an assessment of stakeholder perceptions regarding the feral cat population. Participants observed feral cats in areas with feeding stations. Feeding was the main activity observed. Feelings towards the cats were generally positive. There was strong opposition to the eradication of the entire population; respondents did not consider feral cats an Invasive alien species, rather a benign exotic species. The management Implications of these findings are significant and these views should be considered in developing a management strategy. Further research should explore the use of feeding stations and sterilization, but additional research is necessary to determine the Impact of feral cats on wildlife in and around the Conservancy.

Jaclyn K. Tannent, Colleen T. Downs, Dara M. Wald, and Helen K. Watson "Public Perceptions of Feral Cats within an Urban Conservancy on a Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal," South African Journal of Wildlife Research 40(1), 16-26, (1 April 2010).
Received: 12 September 2009; Accepted: 1 March 2010; Published: 1 April 2010

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