Supporting Kangaroo Island's biodiversity

Kangaroo Island is famous for its natural environment and diverse and abundant wildlife, which attract visitors from all over the world. There are 45 species of plants unique to the island, more than in any other region of South Australia. There are also endemic species of invertebrates and fungi, and distinct island subspecies of mammals and birds. Kangaroo Island has the highest level of native vegetation cover (approximately 48%) of any agricultural region of South Australia, and approximately 65% of the remaining native vegetation is protected under public or private agreements. This diverse native vegetation provides an important refuge for many fauna species that are no longer present on mainland Australia. However, sections of the landscape have been extensively transformed since European settlement, from continuous native vegetation, into a patchwork of native vegetation and cleared agricultural land. Many of the island’s species and communities are listed as being threatened at a national or state level, and there are also concerns about the health of many of its ecosystems due to fragmentation and altered fire regimes.

The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board values KI’s rich biodiversity and works with the community to benefit it, from individual species to the landscape-scale. Over the last 10 years the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board has helped landholders to protect more than 2,709 ha of native vegetation, including the critically endangered KI narrow-leaved mallee woodland community, glossy black-cockatoo habitat and riparian vegetation. The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board has also supported the community to revegetate over 420 ha of native vegetation. These plantings have been supported by the KI Native Plant Nursery which on average grows 50,000 plants of over 70 different species each year.

The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board continues to support Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) listed species through KI dunnart and glossy black-cockatoo recovery programs. KI dunnarts have now been found east of Flinders Chase National Park for the first time in 40 years. Effort has focussed on removing their main threat, the feral cat, from their habitat post-fire. Removing nest predators and competitors, and revegetating feeding and nesting habitat, has proved highly successful for glossy black-cockatoo recovery, with their population now around 450 birds, compared with just 200 birds 20 years ago.

From 2009-2018 the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board operated a very successful coast and marine program which monitored reef biodiversity, little penguin, coastal raptor and hooded plover numbers, and removed marine pests. To evaluate the effectiveness of these actions and learn more about the connections between Cygnet River and Nepean Bay, seagrass was monitored to detect changes in cover, condition and fish assemblages, and water quality was assessed in Cygnet River and Deep Creek. Over 1.7 ha of seagrass meadows were revegetated, and these are now visible via satellite.

General biodiversity

Kangaroo Island fungi (brochure)

Kangaroo Island insects (brochure)

Enigma moth (factsheet)

Echidna CSI (website)

Five of Kangaroo Island's best wildlife experiences (website)

Coast and marine

Marine species of conservation interest part 1: Marine invertebrates (technical report)

Marine species of conservation interest part 2: Marine fishes (technical report)

Past projects

Catchment to coast: ecological restoration from Cygnet River to Nepean Bay (video)

Catchment to coast: ecological restoration from Cygnet River to Nepean Bay (factsheet)

More information

Paul Rogers, Biodiversity Manager

35 Dauncey Street Kingscote

+61 08 8553 2476