Feral cats are the top predator in Te Manahuna. They love to hunt and live in the wild with little to no human contact.
While they look similar to domestic cats, they grow to a much larger size. They have tough, short lives and can travel long distances. Scientists have tracked a feral cat cat in the high country that covered almost six kilometres in one night.
Even if they are well-fed, feral cats are driven to hunt, and they are built for it. They can see in low light and can hear the ultrasonic calls of rodents. Braided river birds are extremely vulnerable, as are native lizards and bugs and alpine birds like tuke/rock wren.
In the project area, feral cats tend to prefer the lower regions because of the abundance of rabbits, but they have been spotted on the Malte Brun range. GPS tracking shown they go to higher elevations in winter presumably to hunt hares when rabbit numbers are low.