The short answer, yes! The elusive Kangaroo Island Dunnart has been found.
When this project began, there were two major objectives:
Ascertain the number of endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnarts (Sminthopsis aitkeni) living on the Island and protect them against feral predators and habitat loss.
By March 2019, in partnership with Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife and private-property owners, contribute to the management of 10,000 hectares of private lands for Kangaroo Island Dunnart conservation.
FAME’s funding - made possible by the support of its donors - has helped the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife program engage with more than 60 landholders and gain access to greater than 14,000 hectares of western Kangaroo Island potential Dunnart habitat for survey work. Over 7,000 survey-nights have been completed across the 14,000 hectares, with over 50,000 images analysed.
These surveys resulted in a total of 32 Kangaroo Island Dunnart new records across six different locations.
While the focus was to survey for the Kangaroo Island Dunnarts, information was concurrently captured about other threatened Kangaroo Island species including:
Kangaroo Island Echidna – Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus (endangered)
Southern Brown Bandicoot – Isoodon obesulus obesulus (endangered)
Bassian Thrush – Zoothera lunulata halmaturina (vulnerable)
Southern Emu Wren – Stipiturus malachurus (endangered)
Rosenberg’s Goanna – Varanus rosenbergi (endangered)
The Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife program and the Kangaroo Island Dunnart project have grown in importance and reputation over the past 12 months, thanks to the seed-funding from FAME.
What is next?
The next stage of the project funded by FAME will see an insurance population of Kangaroo Island Dunnarts established behind fencing with the objective of rewilding the species into natural habitat.
The Kangaroo Island Dunnart has a 22% chance of becoming extinct in the next 20 years. Together, we can stop this from becoming a reality.
Photo above: Another record of a Kangaroo Island Dunnart caught on camera at a north western property on Kangaroo Island.
Photo credit: Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife