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Dogs track cats in Australia for science

May 18, 2012 at 3:14 PM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, May 18 (UPI) -- Wildlife researchers say they're using dogs to help them find and study feral cats that have become a problem in the Kimberly region of Western Australia.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is using dogs to track the feral felines' movements, as its research suggests there are at least 100,000 feral cats eating more than a million native animals a day and threatening Kimberley's biodiversity, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.

Conservation scientist Sarah Legge works with her springer spaniel Sally, who has been trained to sniff out and find the wild cats.

"Sally's job is to help us find feral cats so we can learn more about them and their hunting patterns," Legge says.

When found the cats are fitted with satellite tracking collars to monitor their movements.

So far Sally has helped researchers catch 23 cats.

It would be difficult to eradicate feral cats from the landscape entirely, Legge acknowledged, but management regimes have been introduced to minimize their impact.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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