One of the rarest species on earth and under grave threat of extinction, the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, is being given a good chance at survival as a rescue program strongly backed by Island residents gets underway.

The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species is providing funds and applying expertise accumulated over the past 25 years to rescue the remaining estimated 300 Dunnarts under grave threat on Kangaroo Island. The Foundation will partner with the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Association, a non-profit entity which will be chiefly responsible for implementing the work with private landholders. The Association has as its aim the management of 50,000 hectares of private land for Dunnart preservation.

Foundation CEO, Mrs Tracy McNamara, says the Foundation has committed to raise $150,000 to help underwrite the costs of the second phase of the Dunnart program. “Our donor base is highly committed and enthusiastic about the Foundation’s involvement and I believe that we will raise the necessary funds.”

Mrs McNamara says one of the most pleasing aspects of the Kangaroo Island project is the wholehearted support of local residents and the involvement of the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Association. These supportive community groups understand the complexity and multi-faceted nature of the program.

Critical elements include:

  • Feral cat control: the aim is to reduce feral cat numbers on the island by 80%

  • Improving our knowledge of the Dunnart population by continual monitoring at five sites

  • Undertaking a captive breeding program with Dunnarts to be released and so boost wildpopulation numbers

  • Establishing a fenced reserve for the Dunnarts in a location appropriate to their breeding habitsand preferred habitats

  • Engaging and obtaining continued support and ownership of the ambitious program from localresidents to help in monitoring and other long-term control activities.“Our best guess based on 39 Dunnart sightings in four different locations is that the population totals around 300 individuals. These individual animals are under constant threat, particularly from feral cats which are indiscriminate killers. Alarmingly, experts have advised us that there is a better than one-in- five chance of extinction of the species over the next couple of decades unless the feral predator threat is eliminated or largely eliminated.

“That would be a tragedy of enormous proportions – an outcome that Kangaroo Island residents have now determined should not be allowed.”

Mrs McNamara says the Foundation has created an opportunity for donors and potential donors to specify that their donations should go directly to support the Kangaroo Island Dunnart program.

“The amount sought - $150,000 – is significant but the level of support for this program has been very strong and we’re confident of raising the money as we widen the appeal for funds,” Mrs McNamara added.

Further information:
Mrs Tracy McNamara
CEO, Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species Limited Mobile: + 61 411 446 924

Additional Information

The not-for-profit organisation, Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Association Incorporated, will implement this project. Their vision is that by 2021, in partnership with private Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife landholders, they will manage 50,000 hectares of private lands for Kangaroo Island Dunnart conservation, with a longer-term vision to diminish the threat to the Kangaroo Island Dunnart from Endangered to Vulnerable by 2029.

This project follows an earlier successful collaboration between the Foundation and Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Association in the ‘Finding the 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 desired outcomes of this project.

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