Mapping the stray domestic cat (Felis catus) population in New Zealand: Species distribution modelling with a climate change scenario and implications for protected areas
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Species distribution models of stray cats were developed using two types of occurrence data: (i) a combined dataset of stray cats and cat colonies in Auckland and projected to the wider New Zealand area; and (ii) population density as an analogue for country-wide stray cat occurrence. These occurrence data, together with sets of environmental variables were used as input to the Maxent modelling tool to produce maps of suitability for the species. Environmental variables used in the models consist of current bioclimatic conditions, and a future climate scenario (RCP8.5 for year 2070 CCSM model). Commonly occurring bias in the modelling process due to latitude, the area for selecting background points in model evaluation, inherent spatial autocorrelation of occurrence points, and correlated bioclimatic variables were explicitly addressed. Results show that the North Island consistently provide more suitable areas for stray cats with increased suitability in a high emission climate change condition. Key protected areas at risk from the increased suitability to stray cats are also presented.
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