It's exciting times, as we begin a new chapter to save the Kangaroo Island Dunnart from extinction. The Kangaroo Island Dunnart is one of the rarest species on earth, with an estimated 300 individuals still remaining on the Island. Scientists have given the Kangaroo Island Dunnart a 22% chance of becoming extinct in the next 20 years unless action is taken to address threats. The odds are not in its favour.
Stage one background:
In 2018, FAME provided seed funding for an initial project to find out if there are any 'elusive' Kangaroo Island Dunnarts left on the Island. With few sightings in recent times, no-one, not even our project partners, Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife (LfW), expected the positive outcomes the initial project achieved. Stage one of the project recorded 39 Dunnart sightings across four sites on the Island.
The Kangaroo Island Dunnart is listed as critically endangered on the Australian Goverment's EPBC List, and has been prioritised as one of 20 mammals under the current Threatened Species Strategy.
Stage two of the project:
Thanks to the support of our donor community, FAME has been able to once again partner with Kangaroo Island LfW to save the Kangaroo Island Dunnart from extinction.
Stage two of the project will help save the Kangaroo Island Dunnart from extinction by establishing a refuge behind predator-proof fencing, controlling feral cats and surveying and monitoring the populations. The project will:
Improve our understanding and knowledge of Kangaroo Island Dunnarts (home range sizes, movements, shelter sites, population dynamics, sex ratios, longevity of individuals, breeding conditions and habitat preferences) to support conservation decisions by 2021.
Reduce the estimated feral cat numbers by at least 80% within Kangaroo Island Dunnart habitat and maintain control activities by 2021.
Establish a protected (fenced) reserve for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart and collateral beneficiaries that is free from feral cats and other threats by 2021.
This project will also assist the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Rosenberg’s Goanna, Kangaroo Island Echidna, Southern Emu-Wren and Bassian Thrush through controlling predators and supporting landholders in managing private bushland habitat.
This project follow an earlier collaboration between FAME and Kangaroo Island LfW on the successful Finding the Elusive Kangaroo Island Dunnart project.
Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Association Incorporated will involve Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo Island Community Education, Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Program and the South Australian Sporting Shooters Association in supporting the outcomes of this project.
To make a donation to Saving the Kangaroo Island Dunnart from extinction and for further information, visit the project page of our website.
Photo credit: Jody Gates.