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Kowari conservation in action

Arid Recovery 14 June 2024

The kowari may be the cutest marsupial you've never heard of. Recently upgraded from vulnerable to endangered on the national species list, it risks disappearing before many even know of its existence

In a bid to save this pint-sized carnivore, twelve kowaris were reintroduced to Arid Recovery’s Red Lake Paddock in 2022. This effort is an insurance policy against extinction, as the kowari faces a serious risk of vanishing from the wild within 20 years without action. It is also an opportunity to learn how to conserve this enigmatic species.

This month, we closely monitored their wellbeing and population growth during a four-night trapping event. Led by PhD student and President of Team Kowari, Molly Barlow, 200 Elliott traps were set in the Red Lake paddock. The results were promising: ten kowaris were caught during the trapping event. Half were offspring from the twelve kowaris that were initially reintroduced in 2022, and the other half were new indviduals.

Molly says,  it is great to see the population thrive in the reserve, and to re-catch some of the offspring of the original released cohort. All the individuals we caught were in good condition.

Remote cameras have also been keeping an eye on the kowari population, detecting them not only within Red Lake but also in neighbouring paddocks to the north and south. This is a great sign as it shows that kowaris are successfully dispersing, expanding the area covered by the population.
Phd student Molly had no shortage of volunteers who wanted a chance to see Australia's most adorable creature

A kowari caught on a remote camera

On the final night of trapping, an unexpected rainstorm added a twist to our mission. Instead of the usual two teams checking traps at 5 am, four teams raced to the reserve at 1 am. Despite the muddy and challenging conditions, we managed to measure two more new kowaris and close the traps. Watching the parched landscape come alive with water was an incredible sight, even if it meant a slower, messier journey for us and hours of work later cleaning sticky mud from cars.
 It's easy to get up for an early start when you get to see a kowariArid Recovery is proud to be part of the new nationally registered Kowari Recovery Team, working tirelessly to ensure the survival of the kowari. You can help us, by donating to Arid Recovery or sponsoring a kowari this June.

(Photo credits: Jack Bilby and Caitlin Rutherford)

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