Kangaroo Island dunnart

The Kangaroo Island dunnart (Sminthopsis aitkeni) is only found on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Its current distribution on Kangaroo Island is unknown, although all recent records (since 1990) have come from sites on the western end of the island, within large areas of native vegetation. Extensive survey work has failed to locate the species elsewhere, and although early records came from the eastern end of the Island, clearance or modification of the habitat in these areas has reduced the likelihood of dunnarts still occurring there. The Kangaroo Island dunnart is a small, dark, sooty-grey coloured marsupial with a slender pointed nose and wide, square-shaped ears. Adult KI dunnarts grow between 80–90 mm long and weigh up to 25 g.


Major threats to the KI dunnart include:

  • wildfire and inappropriate fire regimes
  • Phytophthora cinnamomi dieback
  • land clearing, degradation and fragmentation of suitable habitat
  • predation by feral cats and native predators.

The Kangaroo Island dunnart is listed as critically endangered by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is believed that there are fewer than 500 individuals. The Kangaroo Island dunnart is currently listed as ‘Endangered’ under both the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

On Monday 27 May 2019 a workshop was held on Kangaroo Island to discuss the information known about the Kangaroo Island dunnart and the threats to it with scientists, local ecologists and landholders with KI dunnarts on their properties. Information from the workshop will be used to develop a Conservation Advice under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for the species.

The minutes from the meeting can be found here:



The individual presentations from each of the speakers can also be viewed here:

Slides: 1-1-KI-dunnart-status-trend-J-Gates-2019.pdf


Slides: 1-2-KI-dunnart-detecting-monitoring-Dr-R-Hohnen-2019.pdf


Slides: 1-3-KI-dunnart-monitoring-private-land-P-Hodgens-H-Groffen-2019.pdf


Slides: 2-1-Feral-cat-densities-KI-Dr-R-Hohnen-2019.pdf


Slides: 2-2-Fire-KI-dunnart-Dr-R-Hohnen-2019.pdf


Slides: 2-3-Fire-planning-ecology-A-McLean.pdf


Slides: 3-1-Feasibility-feral-cat-baiting-west-KI-Dr-R-Hohnen-2019.pdf


Slides: 3-3-Private-land-management-KI-dunnarts-P-Hodgens-H-Groffen-2019.pdf


As a result of the workshop, draft conservation advice for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart was produced, this is now open for consultation for the KI Community to give us any feedback that they would like to make on the draft advice.

Public Comment – Draft Conservation Advice for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart

You are invited to comment on this draft Conservation advice for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, which has been prepared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act)  by Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, the SA Department for Environment and Water and the Australian Government in consultation with scientists, NGO’s and the Kangaroo Island community. The draft conservation advice can be downloaded here .

The Draft Conservation Advice for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart outlines the biological information, threats and objectives and actions necessary to stop the decline of, and support the recovery of the species, which is listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act.

We would welcome your comments on the background information (description, distribution etc), threats, objectives and conservation management actions to help inform finalisation of the plan. Once in place the plan which will be used to guide on-ground conservation action for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart.

The consultation period closes on 20 December 2019.

If you wish to comment on this Conservation Advice, please send your comments, quoting the title "Conservation Advice for the Kangaroo Island Dunnart" to:

Email: recoveryplans@environment.gov.au




More information

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