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Effectives Of Methods Used to Reduce Predation Of UK Wildlife By Domestic Cats 

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With an increasing number of cats in the UK and the majority of them able to free roam in some form, it is important to see the impact they have on the wildlife around them. Humans often introduce species by accident/ deliberately to areas they would not normally be found in which has an effect on the indigenous species found there, the effect is seen greatest on areas that are geographically isolated such as islands but can still be seen in continental biotas such as the UK (Atkinson, 1996) ached to it, therefore every time the cat moves the bell should ring, alerting the prey to the presence of the cat. Trials by Nelson et al (2005) from end of April to the beginning of August in 2002 reported that bells reduced total prey returned by 31% for mammals and birds by 42%.

Interestingly they controlled the colour of the collar as certain colours could be more visible to prey on the cat then others. Nelson et al (2005) also investigated the use of sonic devices, which are marketed as CatAlertTM and were used on the permanently on setting due to nocturnal mammals being included in the survey. There was no significant difference between the efficacy of the collar and bell or the sonic collar, with the sonic collar reducing predation rate by 38% for mammals and 51% for birds. Another collar worn device that has been investigated for the efficiency in reducing predation rates is the CatBibTM. This device is made out of neoprene so is therefore resistant to everyday wear and tear as it is strong and tear resistant. It is attached with Velcro so that if the cat becomes trapped it will become unattached from the cats chest. The bib does not affect everyday activites as Calvar et al (2007) reported when they carried out a pre study test on the cats they fitted with the Bibs before recording their catching rates. The study was carried out in Perth, Australia over six weeks in the spring/summer when a high volume of prey would be available.

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The results showed that the CatBibTM stopped 81% of the cats from catching any birds at all and 45% from catching mammals. The test was carried out for a further 3 weeks to see if the results would vary due to the cats overcoming the device in order to catch prey but there was no variation showing they did not learn a new technique for hunting.

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