Kangaroo Island Dunnarts Breeding After Fire Threat
Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: December 9, 2021 12:10 am
A researcher holds one of the Kangaroo Island dunnarts caught as part of research in to how they are recovering after the fires of 2019/20
Photo Credit: Zoos SA
Zoos SA have discovered a female Kangaroo Island dunnart with pouch young as part of ongoing research in to how the species is recovering following the devastating bushfires of 2019-2020.
The discovery of the jellybean sized dunnarts took the team entirely surprise on their first night of trapping. They found the same female the next week with her babies doubling in size in this time.
“The discovery of just one Kangaroo Island dunnart in this area is exciting enough, but for it to have pouch young is the best news. It gives us real hope that this critically endangered species has survived in this area despite the odds, and that we are in a position to help its recovery after the fires,” said Dr Liberty Olds, Conservation Manager at Zoos SA.
Conservation charity Zoos SA and partners at the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board have been undertaking trapping on Kangaroo Island to find where these animals live and what they need to thrive.
About 96% of the habitat available to Kangaroo Island dunnarts was lost during the fires.
“Our plan is to carry on working with our partners, the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board and the Department for Environment and Water, to protect Kangaroo Island dunnarts and help the species recover from the bushfires. Watch this space as we hope to have more information to share on the monitoring and tracking of dunnarts found elsewhere on the island. All the information we gather from this discovery and others will be incredibly important in helping the conservation of the species,” said Liberty.
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“The area had been identified by the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, who have been monitoring the area with cameras since the bushfires, so we knew trapping there would give us the best chance of capturing Kangaroo Island dunnarts to learn more about this poorly understood species” said Paul Jennings, KI Dunnart Recovery Project Manager at the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board.
“Only around 30 Kangaroo Island dunnarts have ever been caught across the entire island. Nearly all of these were before the bushfires and none had babies, so to capture this mother now after the devastation is highly significant,” finished Paul.
Through their research the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board and Department for Environment and Water have found dunnarts at 70 sites both in conservation areas and on private property.
Zoos SA received funding through the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund to research the Kangaroo Island dunnart. The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board received funding through the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund and Bushfire recovery package for wildlife and their habitat.
Kangaroo Island dunnarts are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Males live for just one or two years with females living for up to five years.
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Researchers inspect the pouch of a Kangaroo Island dunnart and discover the tiny young inside, a sign of recovery for the threatened species
Photo Credit: Zoos SA
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