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Protecting the Critically Endgangered Kanagroo Island dunnart in a changing environment

Updated: Mar 30


Image: Jody Gates


Post Doctoral Fellowhip

Charles Darwin Univeristy and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub

2017-2021


The Kangaroo island dunnart (Sminthopsis fuliginosis aitkeni) is a critically endangered carnivorous marsupial restriced to one island off southern Australia. When I started this project in 2017 the species hadn't been surveyed for extensively for almost 20 years, and little was know about what it needed to survive in the landscape.


I worked with government departments (Kangaroo Island Landscapes Board and South Australian Department of Environment and Water), and community groups (Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife) to develop monitoring strategies and better assess the species current distribution, identify key threats, and progress management solutions. I estimated feral cat (Felis catus) densities across Kangaroo island, and examined the non-target impacts of broadscale feral cat control strategies. When the project finished in 2020, we ran a workshop to communicate the project outcomes to the stakeholders, including federal government representatives, and contributed to a National Conservation Advice funded by the Australian Government. This research, particualry detection methods and cat control strategies, was very valuable to local land managers after the catastrophic 2019-2020 megafires burnt of 95% of the Kangaroo Island dunnart's known range.



Images: Rosie Hohnen


From L-R: A western pygmy possum (Cercartetus conicinnus), field assitants with our trusty steed Betty, and a young southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus).




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