About 3,000 years ago, the Tasmanian Devil disappeared from mainland Australia. But, that is about to change. Eleven Tasmanian Devils are being reintroduced into an Australian wildlife sanctuary north of Sydney.
The Tasmanian Devil is currently listed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as critically endangered. There is an estimated 25,000 still in the wild today, with the majority of them being located in Tasmania south of Australia.
This will help the ecosystem recover from the introduction of other invasive predators, like foxes and cats, as the devils will be the apex predator. but there is a lot of time before they are introduced outside of the sanctuary.
Why Did the Tasmanian Devil Almost Go Extinct?
There are two leading factors to the population decline of the Tasmanian Devils.
The first is human activity. Unfortunately, humans would hunt them, while at the same time destroying the megafauna on the island that housed their main food source. However, it wasn’t just humans that were after them.
Dingos also are another predator that contributed to their disappearance.
However, this is only part of the problem.
The major blow to the population came when the Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) was discovered in 1996. It has killed approximately 90% of the population, and there is still no cure. As such, it continues to ravage the species.
One of the Greatest Animal Conservations in History
This reintroduction is only possible as a result of the incredible work of the Aussie Ark.
Without their hard work, we would not be seeing this reintroduction. Instead, we would actually be witnessing the end of the species.
The Devil Arc has been helping the populations recover. It started in 2011 with just 44 and have had 7 breeding seasons that have given birth to over 300 Tasmanian devils in 2020. The species would be in a terrible situation without their help.