Future Leaders: Team Kowari

Championing a tiny, spunky marsupial



In just two years, Team Kowari has managed to raise awareness of this tiny, vulnerable carnivore, helping it on the pathway to achieving threatened species status, meaning greater funding support and protection.

Team Kowari is one of many success stories to emerge from the Arid Recovery project in Australia’s far north. This initiative focuses on one of the cutest, most elusive micro-carnivores in Australia – the tiny Kowari.

First discovered by western science in 1895, the Kowari has since disappeared from the Northern Territory and from many regions of South Australia and Queensland. Once it disappears from a site, it struggles to return.

Recognising the plight of the Kowari, a group of scientists, land managers and interns representing Arid Recovery and other organisations joined forces to protect this vulnerable creature on the lands of the Diyari, Ngamini and Wongkanguru people.

Our involvement

The Rendere Trust funded young conservationist, William (Billy) La Marca, to transition his Masters’ work with small mammals to a PhD with the University of Sydney. Billy’s foundational research, supported by Chris Dickman, a world leader in researching patterns of distribution, abundance and diversity of terrestrial vertebrates, led to the establishment of Team Kowari.

The Rendere Trust assisted with the initial setup and core funding to support the establishment of what has grown into a thriving not-for-profit organisation.


Over the past two years, the team have played a lead role in raising awareness of the Kowari and its habitat, particularly among pastoralists. They have also created a pathway for the Kowari to be recognised as a threatened species, which will deepen the funding support.

An approved translocation program into Arid Recovery – where the Kowari can re-populate within a feral-free fence – is also underway. The project will eventually see the mammal returned to three arid regions in three states: South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Kowari photo with thanks to Joachim S. Müller via Flickr.

”By supporting a future leader to transition to a PhD and providing business support to set up the not-for-profit organisation, we’ve generated many positive outcomes and Team Kowari is now self-sufficiently funded through supporters. It’s a nice, tight model that is delivering real and meaningful results.”

– Rendere Trust Strategic Director, Jim Phillipson

”The generosity of the Rendere Trust, and the guidance provided by Strategic Director, Jim Phillipson, have been instrumental in allowing me to pursue my doctoral studies. By investing in the creation of Team Kowari, the Trust allowed me to create a sustainable source of income to fund my research and provide a framework for the ongoing protection of the Kowari.

”I am extremely grateful for the support in all its forms.”

– William La Marca, Chairperson, Team Kowari