Human-cat relationship in an oceanic biosphere reserve: the case of La Palma Island, Canary archipelago
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Removal of feral cats from island environments is a useful mechanism by which their ecological impact on endangered species can be reduced or ended. Nevertheless, because cats are anthropogenic in their origins, social perceptions of management practices play a large role in their implementation. Four-hundred questionnaires were delivered (386 were returned) with 100 going to each of the following: local residents; environmental workers; tourists; and, hunters. Questions explored respondents' knowledge about island biodiversity and invasive species as well as attitudes towards cat population management methods. Habitat destruction and introduction of invasive species were considered the main threats for the conservation of island biodiversity. Most respondents considered cats to have a negative impact on biodiversity and sterilization campaigns were considered most appropriate for cat population control. Several free sterilization campaigns have been conducted in La Palma Island Biosphere Reserve in order to reduce free-ranging cats and were well received by local people. This research, which combined concepts of management, ecology and social sciences, provides valuable insights which may to be applicable on several other islands where cats and people are present and in conflict with conservation priorities.
|Publication Title||Journal for Nature Conservation|
|Author Address||Servicio de Medio Ambiente, Cabildo Insular de La Palma, Avenida Los Indianos 20, 2°, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org|
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