Protecting and detecting the Kangaroo Island dunnart

Date: 05, Jun, 2019
Author(s):   Rosemary Hohnen
Publisher: TSR Hub

The Endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart persists on western Kangaroo Island in low numbers. The species is hard to detect. This project trialled four monitoring methods. It found that camera traps facing drift fences were the cheapest and most effective detection method. Dunnarts were found at five of 42 sites surveyed. Low detection rates meant the study was unable to conclude, with reasonable confidence, if there has been a reduction in site occupancy in the past two decades. Feral cats pose a threat to the dunnart. Arrays of remote cameras found that cat densities in some areas on western Kangaroo Island were higher than average densities on mainland Australia. An island-wide cat eradication project has begun, for economic and environmental reasons. Inaccessibility makes aerial feral cat baiting the most practical option for western Kangaroo Island. The next stage of this project will undertake non-toxic bait trials to determine how baiting will impact upon the dunnart and other small mammal species.