Kangaroo Island dunnart
The Kangaroo Island dunnart (Sminthopsis aitkeni) is only found on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
The KI dunnart's current distribution on the island is unknown, although all recent records (since 1990) are 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 living in these areas.
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 to between 80–90 mm long and weigh up to 25g.
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 also listed as ‘Endangered’ under both the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. It is believed that there are fewer than 500 KI dunnarts left.