Earlier this year the TSR Hub initiated an ambitious project to determine how a small endangered native marsupial, the Kangaroo Island dunnart, responds
when one of its prime threats, predation by feral cats, is controlled or removed. The idea, of course, is to secure a future for the dunnart but in
doing so it’s hoped there’s a whole lot more we can learn about saving threatened species. Dr Rosemary Hohnen from Charles Darwin University
is leading the work and explains here what’s involved.
Feral cats are a key cause of biodiversity loss in Australia and overseas. Across Australia there are thought to be between 2.1 and 6.3 million feral cats and they have been implicated in the decline and extinction of some 20 mammal species. Many threatened Australian mammal species now only persist in fenced ‘feral-free’ exclosures or offshore islands. The national Threatened Species Strategy has made tackling feral cats a core priority and particularly on biodiversity rich offshore islands.
Top image: Coastal heath on Kangaroo Island. Researchers and managers from multiple groups came together earlier this year to discuss progress on the cat eradication project and how best to go about monitoring the island’s threatened species. Image: Rosemary Hohnen.
Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the importance of averting extinctions of less charismatic animals.
The 2019–20 wildfires have severely impacted animals of all major species groups. Here, national experts on mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and freshwater fish and crayfish present some of the key challenges for each group and how these will influence management and research priorities in the aftermath of the fires.
Cultural fire management is the way that Indigenous people have used fire to care for Country for thousands of years, and it continues today. The devastation wreaked by the 2019–20 bushfires across millions of hectares was a wake-up call for Australia and the world. Oliver Costello from the Firesticks Alliance explains how the fires demonstrated the need to listen to and care for Country.
Australia has one of the highest rates of plant endemism of any country globally. After the catastrophic fire season of 2019–20, Dr Rachael Gallagher and Professor David Keith are leading two teams to find out which species and ecological communities are most in need of immediate recovery.
The 2019–20 bushfires burnt over 12 million hectares of south-eastern and south-western Australia, causing abrupt losses of biodiversity at a scale never seen before. Over a billion animals were estimated to have died, but the figure is likely much higher. The Australian Government’s Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel is guiding the work of prioritising species and ecological communities for emergency interventions and determining what those actions should be. Hub Deputy Director and Expert Panel member Professor Sarah Legge takes us though the hows and whys of this prioritisation, and some of its challenges.