For Australian wildlife, first fire — then cats

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Fire Captain Dave Soldavini holds a young kangaroo rescued from the devastating wildfires in Australia. ©U.S. Forest Service

Wildlife that survived the bushfires in Australia may face a new threat — feral cats. Studies have shown that the continents’ feral cats hunt along recently burned areas in search of weakened prey. “One study found that a feral cat journeyed 19 miles to a burn scar,” Wired reports. Another using collar cameras captured 13 cats killing 7.2 prey animals every day, many of which they didn’t eat

“They’re waiting and watching, and they will continue to hunt until every last prey is gone from that area,” University of Tasmania ecologist Hugh McGregor told Wired. “It’s an extra level of meticulousness that a lot of native predators don’t tend to have.”

Conservation biologists have been deploying feeding stations to aid animals caught without food and water and are working to control feral predators in the wake of the fires.

Read more from Wired here.