Kangaroo Island Dunnart - Project Update - February 2020

FAME have been working closely with Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife (KILFW) for a number of years to save the Kangaroo Island (KI) Dunnart from extinction, by investing funds for KILFW to work with private landholders to identify, survey and track the dunnarts.

Before this project commenced many years ago, dunnarts were known only from a total of 35 records, all of which had been found within Flinders Chase National Park and the Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area.

FAME’s funding over the years - made possible by your support - has helped the KILFW program engage with more than 60 landholders and gain access to greater than 14,000 hectares of western Kangaroo Island with the potential to be Dunnart habitat for survey work. Over 7,000 survey-nights had been completed across the 14,000 hectares, with over 50,000 images analysed, before the recent fires.

These surveys resulted in a total of 32 new dunnart records across six different locations. This project would never have commenced without the support of FAME’s community.

Headway was being made before the December fires decimated much of the known remnant patches where the Dunnarts dwelled.

Camera work since the fires has identified a number of key individual dunnarts along with South Brown Bandicoots residing on private land. I visited Kangaroo Island this week to meet with KILFW to look at the project and discuss future plans, as well as visit Hanson Bay Sanctuary which FAME has financially supported in the past.

To date, the Foundation through the bushfire fund have:

- funded a helicopter to view the fire scar in order to locate other possible unburnt areas,

- funded drone work to identify cats and other possible species,

- provided funding to support KILFW to allow them to remain focused on the on-ground work required, and

- collaborated with Sporting Shooters South Australia for them to undertake feral cat work in the area known to have surviving dunnarts.

The race and commitment continues. Australian Wildlife Conservancy will construct a fence to create a 14 hectare safe-haven (known as the Western River Refuge) against feral predators whilst a larger fenced area of around 371 hectares is to be built which will house the KI Dunnart and other collateral beneficiaries like the Southern Brown Bandicoot and Southern Emu Wren.

FAME’s future role, with your help, is to fund continued feral management, replace vital survey and thermal equipment, vehicle hire, revegetation and on-ground costs.

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.

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