The Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian devil is the largest surviving marsupial carnivore. Once found on the mainland of Australia, today devils are only found in Tasmania. It is believed the populations on the mainland were wiped out due to competition from the Dingo approximately 3,500 years ago. With no dingoes found in Tasmania, the devil is the island state’s top predator but the wild populations are threatened with extinction due to the rapid transmission of the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), with only an estimated 10% of the population left in the wild.
Devil Ark’s Insurance Population
Devil Ark is a critically needed project working to save the endangered Tasmanian Devil. Located in the hills of the Barrington Tops, Devil Ark is the largest conservation breeding program for the Tasmanian devil on mainland Australia. This ambitious breeding program might just be the key to the devil’s survival.
The goal of the insurance population of Tasmanian Devils is to establish healthy and genetically diverse individuals that retain their wild traits and are able to be successfully released into the wild. Captive breeding is the process of breeding animals in controlled environments such as wildlife reserves, zoos and conservation facilities. Captive breeding programs enable biodiversity and may save species from extinction.
The Tasmanian devil insurance population strategy is set out by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP), an initiative of the Tasmanian government. Under the coordination of the international conservation body, IUCN, and the Zoo and Aquarium Association, a captive management strategy was developed and implemented that included the need for captive breeding facilities on Australia’s mainland.
The Wild Devil Recovery Project
I had the good fortune to visit Tasmania and meet with the Save The Tasmanian Devil team years ago. Our visit included spotlight tours at night to observe devils in the wild. Since my visit to meet the devils, exciting progress has been made that brings hope for the future.
The Wild Devil Recovery Project, a joint initiative between the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and the STDP, are conducting the vaccination field trials as an opportunity to test the immunization response against DFTD and to help refine and develop more effective vaccination techniques. The trial is an important step in ensuring the Tasmanian devil’s long-term survival in the wild.
While research continues, Devil Ark provides protection and a chance for a future for the Tasmanian devil with their work maintaining a healthy captive population that will some day be able to return to the wild of Tasmania. I fell in love with the Tassie devil and have to say it is one of my favorite animals. I know…not a cat… but remember we care for all animals big and small.
Thanks so your support of Triple T Studios, The Tiniest Tiger community was able to contribute to Devil Ark and help them reach their recent crowd-funded campaign goal. I feel hopeful for their future. I hope you do too.