||Kangaroo Island general survey and research project on Sminthopsis aitkeni, Sooty Dunnart.
The Kangaroo Island Dunnart Sminthopsis aitkeni is a Nationally endangered species of dunnart (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) that is endemic to Kangaroo Island. The species is also listed as Endangered in South Australia (Schedule 7, National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972). Prior to this project the Kangaroo Island Dunnart was only known from ten records from six locations. Despite intensive survey effort during the 1990s only four animals were captured from two locations in Flinders Chase National Park.
A total of 46 sites were surveyed during this project, with over 13,700 pitfall trap-nights and 8,900 Elliott trap-nights carried out. This resulted in 22 dunnarts being captured from six locations, including four new locations. All locations occurred within Flinders Chase National Park. Fifteen of the dunnarts captured were juveniles or sub-adults, and no adult females were captured. All captures occurred between January and May, although this partly reflected the timing of trapping at the sites where captures occurred. This survey confirmed the rarity of the species. Radio tracking of Sooty Dunnarts was undertaken with limited success.
Vegetation and fauna was recorded at all sites using a modified biological survey methodology.
Conservation management and research recommendations were made, and focus on protecting the known populations, particularly from wildfire, undertaking further survey work to clarify the distribution of the species, and continuing population monitoring and research at the major dunnart site.
Abstract compiled from the Summary within the following report:
Gates J.A. (2001) The Distribution and Ecology of the Kangaroo Island Dunnart Sminthopsis aitkeni. Final Report to Environment Australia's Endangered Species Program.