Tasmanian Devil | Tourism Tasmania | Chris McLennan
You may be aware of the Save the Tasmanian Devil program which is working to breed healthy Tasmania Devils which are free from the cancerous facial tumour that has infected the population.
Last week eleven devils, bred interstate, were released on Maria Island, off the east coast of Tasmania. You can read the full story here on the program website. There you can also read about ways that you can help the program.
Maria Island receives a new batch of disease-free Tasmanian devils to boost the healthy population
The first Tasmanian devils born and raised interstate are being released on Maria Island.
Environment Minister Brian Wightman said the devils would be able to breed naturally in the wild, protected from the deadly facial tumour disease ravaging the species elsewhere in the state.
“The mainland devils were part of the captive insurance population, which now consists of well over 600 healthy devils across Australia, and contains sufficient genetic diversity to guard against the species’ extinction due to the disease,” Mr Wightman said.
“Now that we have a robust insurance population the next major step in combating the disease is to establish disease-free populations of devils in the wild.”
The release is designed to be a critical safeguard should devils become extinct in the wild on mainland Tasmania.
The devils released yesterday were bred in captivity at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary in Victoria and Monarto Zoo, in South Australia. They spent a month in quarantine at Halls Gap Zoo in Victoria.
The new island devil population will be monitored over coming months.
Mr Wightman said surveys of native bird species and other native animals on the island would continue to monitor potential impacts and allow action to be taken ahead of time.
Let’s hope that the disease free population of devils increases in number and that the Tasmanian Devil is saved from extinction.