Zoos SA

Santa paws: KI Dunnarts discoveries are the perfect present

Just in time for the festive season, Zoos SA’s conservation team has announced exciting new information has been discovered about critically-endangered species, the Kangaroo Island Dunnart.

The discovery comes two years after the species lost around 96% of its habitat when it was burnt during the devastating bushfires of 2019-20. Very little was known about the KI Dunnart before the fires, and at the time, there were fears for the species’ survival.

Zoos SA Conservation Ecologist, Claire Hartvigsen-Power, said the team worked with the KI Landscapes Board to build a new, simplified trapping technique that delivered a surprising result.

“We have always thought that KI Dunnarts were possibly a solitary species, but during our recent study we discovered three males and a female nesting together,” she said.

“They were snuggling under our ‘dunnart hotel’ made from a sheet of corrugated iron with a cosy nest underneath. This was a new trapping technique, which has been really successful and allowed us to find out so much about this species.

“We then put radio-tracking collars, which weigh less than 1 gram, on the males and tracked them for over a month. Radio-tracking gives us vital information to assess the health of the population and gain more insight into the species’ habits, foraging and nesting behaviour.”

During the radio-tracking study, the team also found several other groups of KI Dunnarts living communally in both the dunnart hotels and in natural nests. The discovery of the snuggling marsupials has inspired Zoos SA’s 12 days of conservation Christmas appeal.

As a not-for-profit conservation charity, Zoos SA relies on the support of generous supporters to continue our vital conservation work like that with the KI Dunnart.

Heading into the season of giving, Zoos SA would love everyone to join in the fun with their ’12 days of conservation Christmas’ to learn more about our important conservation programs and the amazing species Zoos SA supports.

Along with a fun conservation-themed sing-a-long and downloadable conservation decoration for your own tree at home, the charity hopes that by learning more about these vital programs the public will consider giving a gift with impact this Christmas.

Each donation today will go towards Zoos SA’s 26 national and international conservation priorities which include our precious native species such as the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Brush-tailed Bettong and Orange-bellied Parrots.

Donations will help Zoos SA ensure these amazing animals are here for years to come – plus they makes the perfect feel-good gift to put under the Christmas tree.

For more information about Zoos SA zoossa.com.au/conservationchristmas/.

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction. Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging. We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

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