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Tasmanian Devils are returning to mainland Australia!
Tasmanian devils are a much-loved, iconic Australian animal. Now, for the first time in 3,000 years, the tiny devils have been reintroduced to mainland Australia.
In early September, wildlife non-profit Aussie Ark partnered with Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and WildArk to release twenty-six Tasmanian devils into Barrington Tops; a national park located 200 kilometres north of Sydney.
Tasmanian devils have endured a rough existence. Over 3,000 years ago, Tasmanian devils roamed the forests of mainland Australia, but it’s believed that they became extinct due to ferocious dingoes and human actions. Tasmanian devils once thrived off the coast of mainland Australia in the state of Tasmania, until a transmissible cancer — Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) — wiped out up to 90% of the wild population. It’s estimated that there are only 25,000 wild devils left in Tasmania.
Conservationists at Aussie Ark have been working hard over the past decade to re-introduce the furry devils back onto the mainland. As a native predator, Tasmanian devils help to control feral cats and foxes that threaten endangered Australian species.
“Not only is this the reintroduction of one of Australia’s beloved animals, but of an animal that will engineer the entire environment around it, restoring and rebalancing our forest ecology after centuries of devastation from introduced foxes and cats and other invasive predators. Because of this reintroduction and all of the hard work leading up to it, someday we will see Tasmanian devils living throughout the great eastern forests as they did 3,000 years ago,” says Aussie Ark president Tim Faulker in a GWC statement.
Over the next two years, Aussie Ark will introduce an additional fourty Tasmanian devils to Barrington Tops. The animals will be monitored through regular surveys, radio collars fit with transmitters and camera traps. This will be useful for researchers to understand the challenges the devils are facing.
Aussie Ark are a busy bunch. The Tasmanian devil is just one of seven cornerstone species that Aussie Ark plan to reintroduce to the wild in the coming years. The six other species include: Eastern quolls, Brush-tail rock wallabies, Rufous bettong, long-nosed potoroo, parma wallabies and southern brown bandicoots. All of these species are chosen for their ability to restore the natural balance of Aussie ecosystems!
“Without Aussie Ark’s incredible work and perseverance over all of these years, the recent devil reintroduction would not have been possible, and instead of looking forward to the recovery of the species, we would be watching the devil slip into extinction,” says Don Church, president of GWC.
Soon, those of us who live on the mainland might be able to spot some of the furry little devils roaming in the wild!
Rewilding projects are so important for ecological restoration and healthy biodiversity. If you want to help out the rewilding process, donate here to support the work of the #DevilComeback Partners — Aussie Ark, Global Wildlife Conservation and WildArk!
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