Kangaroo Island Wilderness Project Restoring an Island Ecosystem
Islands harbour some of the world’s most unique, biodiverse ecosystems, and Kangaroo Island in South Australia is no exception. FAME is partnering with KI Land for Wildlife to reduce threats to native species through camera trap surveys, feral cat control and collaboration with private landholders.
FAME will be funding critical aspects of KI Land for Wildlife’s (KILfW) work over the next 12 months to increase existing monitoring of threatened species, and provide a clearer picture of best management practices for those that are endangered. These efforts will take place on privately-owned land with a focus on the removal of invasive predators. Working with local landholders, we will create safe habitats to help restore the island’s wilderness.
THE KEY ISSUES
The native species of KI face a number of threats including habitat fragmentation and increasing intensity of bushfires, but the most pressing concern for many is the presence of invasive species like feral cats. To make matters worse, cats find it easier to hunt in recently burnt habitat, as available cover is scarce. Without control of invasive predators, species like the KI Dunnart stand little chance of survival.
Building on years of partnership with the team on the ground, this new project will focus on leveraging the relationship with private landowners to develop best management practices and intensify the efforts to manage feral cats. Removing this constant threat will allow native species to recover, and ecosystems to flourish once again.
How will this be done?
- Collaboration with private landowners
- More intensive monitoring focussed on Endangered and Vulnerable species
- The development of individual best management practices for their conservation
- Ongoing management of invasive cats, pigs and weeds, which are causing inestimable damage to native wildlife, both directly and indirectly
This project aims to improve the outlook for the many endangered species identified as key targets in earlier surveys. Those species are:
- KI echidna (Endangered)
- KI dunnart (EN)
- Southern brown bandicoot (EN)
- KI white-eared honeyeater (EN)
- KI brown-headed honeyeater (EN)
- KI white-bellied whipbird (EN)
- KI Southern emu-wren (EN)
- KI striated thornbill (Vulnerable)
- KI little wattlebird (VU)
- KI shy heathwren (VU)
- KI crimson rosella (VU)
- Heath goanna (VU - State listed).
By the end of June 2023, we aim to see a positive increase in species trajectories across the KILfW management zone along with better understanding of long-term trends. The presence and abundance of feral cats and pigs across these zones will be reduced and show a downward trend.
In all, 30 cameras will be maintained, focussed on surveying threatened fauna. Fifteen seasonal biodiversity site surveys will be completed, and radio-tracking of KI Dunnarts and Southern Brown Bandicoots will be reported on. Importantly, 50 cameras will be maintained in the field monitoring feral cat activity to increase our understanding of their prevalence, behaviour and locale.
This project will see some 25,000 hectares protected through feral cat control across four management zones.
PAST WORK ON THE ISLAND
On Karta Pintingga, your support has already helped us make tangible improvements to the outlook for one of these species: the Kangaroo Island Dunnart.
You can read more about the dunnart and our existing work to protect the species here. The compounding pressures at the heart of that work necessitate ongoing support, and this will now be tied in with an approach focussed on the wider ecosystem through invasives control.