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Human-cat relationship in an oceanic biosphere reserve: the case of La Palma Island, Canary archipelago

By F. M. Medina, M. Nogales, M. J. Farnworth, E. Bonnaud

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

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
Volume 34
Pages 8-14
ISBN/ISSN 1617-1381
DOI 10.1016/j.jnc.2016.04.006
Language English
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.fmmhijazo@gmail.com felix.medina@cablapalma.es
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Biological resources
  5. Carnivores
  6. Cats
  7. Conservation
  8. Countries
  9. Developed countries
  10. Ecology
  11. Europe
  12. Feral animals
  13. Habitats
  14. Humans
  15. Introduction
  16. Invasive species
  17. Mammals
  18. Mediterranean region
  19. Men
  20. natural enemies
  21. OECD countries
  22. Pests.
  23. Pets and companion animals
  24. predation
  25. predators
  26. Primates
  27. Psychiatry and psychology
  28. Relationships
  29. social anthropology
  30. Social psychology and social anthropology
  31. Spain
  32. sterilization
  33. stray animals
  34. surgery
  35. surveys
  36. vertebrates
  37. Veterinary sciences
  38. Veterinary surgery
  39. Wild animals
  40. wildlife management
  41. Zoology