2003 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 47-56
The Iriomote cat Prionailurus iriomotensis occurs only on Iriomote Island in the Ryukyu Archipelago of southern Japan. The population is estimated at 100 individuals and is on the decline. We examined resource overlap for prey and habitat between this species and introduced cats Felis catus by scat census and analysis of scat contents. The distribution of scats was completely different between the two species. The distribution of scats from Iriomote cats was associated with environmental factors such as vegetation types and terrain conditions, while the distribution of scats from feral cats mainly depended on locations of garbage dumps. Although the feral cat heavily utilized human rubbish, it also preyed upon thirteen species of native animals, ten of which were also used by Iriomote cats. From 1997 to 2001, the number of observed scats from Iriomote cats declined significantly, while feral cat scat became more common. Feral cats on Iriomote Island still depend on humans, but the expansion of their distribution into habitats of Iriomote cats may increase the competition for prey and habitat resources in the future.
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