Stray Cats in Auckland, New Zealand: Discovering Geographic Information for Exploratory Spatial Analysis

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Short Description:
Researchers combined geographic information systems (GIS) technology and methods with data from local shelters about stray cat pick-ups to determine where large populations of stray cats live in Auckland, New Zealand. The areas with the highest density of stray cats were in Southern Auckland.

Article Abstract:

"Stray cats are a common feature of urban landscapes and are associated with issues of animal welfare and negative environmental impacts. Management, planning and decision-making require readily accessible information on stray cats. However, much of the existing data is not immediately useful for a geographic information system (GIS) in terms of format, content and explicit location information. Spreadsheets we obtained from a single large shelter in the Auckland region. They contained records of stray cat pickups and admissions for an entire year (n = 8573) of which 56.4% (n = 4834) contained data that could be processed to derive relevant spatial information. The resulting data consisted of identified roads and areas of Auckland where the stray cats were found. Published census databases and shapefiles were matched with the data to build a GIS of stray cats."

"Global and local regression analysis was employed to discover spatial distribution characteristics including the identification of areas with relatively high and low concentrations of stray cats and to explore relationships between socioeconomic condition and stray cat density. Significant clustering is more evident in South Auckland than elsewhere in the region. Specific geographical information is valuable, not only for understanding population dynamics of stray cats, but also to allow spatial and temporal targeting of resources to minimise their impact and promote responsible ownership."

Spot Check Number: 1915
Sponsor: Unitec Institute of Technology
Researcher/Author: Glenn D. Aguilar & Mark J. Farnwort
Animal Type: Cats
Research Method: Case Study, Experimental/Modeling/Applications
Geographic Region: International
Population Descriptors: Stray cats, Auckland, new Zealand
Year Conducted: 2011
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