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      Predation on endangered species by human-subsidized domestic cats on Tokunoshima Island

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          Abstract

          It is important to unravel how invasive species impact native ecosystems in order to control them effectively. The presence of abundant exotic prey promotes population growth of invasive predators, thereby enhancing the predation pressure on native prey (hyper-predation). Not only the exotic prey but also feeding by humans is likely to cause “hyper-predation”. However, the contribution of artificial resources to this was underestimated in previous studies. Here, we combined fecal and stable isotope analyses to reveal short- and long-term food habits of free-ranging cats on Tokunoshima Island. Although 20.1% of the feral cat feces contained evidence of forest-living species, stable isotope analysis suggested that the cats were mostly dependent on artificial resources. In addition, a general linear model analysis showed that their diet was strongly correlated with landscape variables. These results indicate that the invasive free-ranging cats are aided by anthropogenic feeding, and they move from the human habituated area to natural areas with high biodiversity. These findings suggest the possibility of human feeding indirectly accelerates the effect of cat predation, and call for a further study on their demography. Cat management mainly involves trapping, but our findings show that educating local residents to stop feeding free-ranging cats and keeping pet cats indoors are also important.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals

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            The Population Biology of Invasive Species

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              Source Partitioning Using Stable Isotopes: Coping with Too Much Variation

              Background Stable isotope analysis is increasingly being utilised across broad areas of ecology and biology. Key to much of this work is the use of mixing models to estimate the proportion of sources contributing to a mixture such as in diet estimation. Methodology By accurately reflecting natural variation and uncertainty to generate robust probability estimates of source proportions, the application of Bayesian methods to stable isotope mixing models promises to enable researchers to address an array of new questions, and approach current questions with greater insight and honesty. Conclusions We outline a framework that builds on recently published Bayesian isotopic mixing models and present a new open source R package, SIAR. The formulation in R will allow for continued and rapid development of this core model into an all-encompassing single analysis suite for stable isotope research.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0372 2033, GRID grid.258799.8, Wildlife Research Center, , Kyoto University, ; 2-24 Tanaka-Sekiden-cho, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8203 Japan
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9150 188X, GRID grid.417935.d, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI), ; 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687 Japan
                [3 ]Amami Wild Animal Research Center, 2662 Ogachi, Tatsugo-cho, Kagoshima 894-0105 Japan
                [4 ]Amami Wildlife Research Center Co., Ltd, 10-11-2F Naze Suehiro-cho, Amami, Kagoshima 894-0027 Japan
                Contributors
                ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8630-5459, ywatari@affrc.go.jp
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                7 November 2019
                7 November 2019
                2019
                : 9
                31700052 6838317 52472 10.1038/s41598-019-52472-3
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (4-1804) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan (ERCA)
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                © The Author(s) 2019

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                stable isotope analysis, conservation biology, invasive species

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