Earlier this year the TSR Hub initiated an ambitious project to determine how a small endangered native marsupial, the Kangaroo Island dunnart, responds
when one of its prime threats, predation by feral cats, is controlled or removed. The idea, of course, is to secure a future for the dunnart but in
doing so it’s hoped there’s a whole lot more we can learn about saving threatened species. Dr Rosemary Hohnen from Charles Darwin University
is leading the work and explains here what’s involved.
Feral cats are a key cause of biodiversity loss in Australia and overseas. Across Australia there are thought to be between 2.1 and 6.3 million feral cats and they have been implicated in the decline and extinction of some 20 mammal species. Many threatened Australian mammal species now only persist in fenced ‘feral-free’ exclosures or offshore islands. The national Threatened Species Strategy has made tackling feral cats a core priority and particularly on biodiversity rich offshore islands.
Top image: Coastal heath on Kangaroo Island. Researchers and managers from multiple groups came together earlier this year to discuss progress on the cat eradication project and how best to go about monitoring the island’s threatened species. Image: Rosemary Hohnen.
Many of Australia’s possums and gliders are under threat. Good information about where different species are greatly assists conservation programs. Members of the public can play a valuable role in helping to collect this information in their own backyards, and surrounding parks and natural areas.
Red foxes are one of the greatest threats to Australia’s native mammals and pose a major risk to livestock. To combat this, Australia spends more than $16 million per year on red fox control, with much of that money directed to poison baiting.
An international study led by The Australian National University has found a fungal disease has caused dramatic population declines in more than 500 amphibian species, including 90 extinctions, over the past 50 years.
The world is changing. Some of this change is planned and desirable. But much else is an unwanted consequence of the expansion of the human species. Those unwanted impacts will affect our lives and those of our descendants.
After undergraduate majors in Geography, Environmental Science and Botany, I did my PhD on native grasslands. I was struck by how these Critically Endangered ecosystems existing right on the edge of my city were being lost without most people even knowing about them – or understanding what amazing, super diverse ecosystems they are.