Australia's Cat Proof Fence

Australia has created the world’s longest cat-proof fence.  It is an electric wire and netting fence in Central Australia and it is hoped that it will protect endangered native mammal species from translocating within the remote area.

Since 1788, thirty native mammals have disappeared in Australia and scientists believe this is primarily due to the hunting habits of foxes and feral cats.  Cats were introduced to Australia in the early 19th century and have had a devastating impact on ground-nesting birds and small mammals.

 In 2017 a study estimated that feral cats were responsible for the death of 316 million birds annually and pet cats contribute a further 61 million to this number. This equates to one million birds being killed across Australia every day due to cats.  Further studies suggest that cats kill over 650 million reptiles annually in Australia as well.

In April this year, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), completed construction of the world’s longest feral cat-proof fence at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, 350kms north-west of Alice Springs. This newly fenced area is a former cattle station enclosing 9390 hectares.  The total fencing of 44km is made up of 8,500 fence pickets, 400km of plain wire and 130km of mesh netting and then over 1,000,000 fence clips.

The Newhaven project is one of Australia’s most ambitious pieces of conservation infrastructure. The AWC hope to eventually restore the vast landscape to its former biological wonder and diversity-just as it was before the feral cats and foxes arrived.