OCT 07, 2020 2:37 PM PDT

Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), the oft-maligned marsupials have been absent from mainland Australia since “before the arrival of Europeans.” The AP attributes their disappearance to the appearance of predatory dingoes, a rise in the indigenous population, and a prolonged dry season. Combining these factors likely caused the extinction of Tasmanian devils on the mainland but led to their migration to what is now Tasmania.

The AP reports that Tasmanian devils have been protected in Australia since 1941 while conservation organizations protected and strengthened the remaining animals. Unfortunately, the appearance of an infectious cancer known as “devil facial tumor disease” in the 1900s caused a significant population decline, decimating about 85% of the remaining animals. The AP reports that researchers created an “insurance populations” in Tasmania to protect the remaining devils.

The 11 devils that most recently returned to Australia are in a protected area called the Barrington Tops wildlife refuge in New South Wales, Australia. The ultimate goal includes eventually populating non-protected areas of the mainland as well. As apex predators, Tasmanian devils provide essential ecosystem services, and the research team hopes that ultimately they can help control cat and fox populations.

Aussie Ark, one of the conservation organizations involved in the release, states that “this first historic release is only step one in our mission to rewild Australia and bring balance back to the bush.” According to the Aussie Ark website, a total of 26 devils were released into the wild sanctuary this year with the hope of creating a self-sustaining wild population. Tim Faulkner, Aussie Ark President, stated, “In 100 years we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country.”

Additionally, the Aussie Ark website reports that the released devils “will be monitored through regular surveys, radio collars with transmitters, and camera traps.” The information gathered through these monitoring services will help them prepare and make any necessary changes to future releases.

Sources: AP News, Aussie Ark
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
AUG 27, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Common Pesticide May Lead to Weight Gain
AUG 27, 2021
Common Pesticide May Lead to Weight Gain
Globally, obesity rates have been rising for years. Research has indicated that a western diet that's high in fat, sugar ...
AUG 31, 2021
Health & Medicine
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
AUG 31, 2021
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
A new study shows that, yes, your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
AUG 31, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Method to Detect Genetically Modified Animals in the Environment
AUG 31, 2021
A Method to Detect Genetically Modified Animals in the Environment
Genetically modified mice, fruit flies, and zebrafish are commonly used in research. Scientists have now developed a met ...
SEP 05, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
New Comb Jelly Species Revealed by Genetic Study
SEP 05, 2021
New Comb Jelly Species Revealed by Genetic Study
Genetic research has now revealed more about comb jellies, also known as ctenophores, which are delicate and mysterious ...
SEP 14, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Record Activist Murders and Illegal Logging
SEP 14, 2021
Record Activist Murders and Illegal Logging
Last year, 2020, was the deadliest year for conservation activists. According to Global Witness, 227 environmental ...
SEP 28, 2021
Earth & The Environment
How to Save the World's Coral Reefs? Global Reforestation
SEP 28, 2021
How to Save the World's Coral Reefs? Global Reforestation
With recent news of the world's coral supply standing at just 50% of what it was in the 1950s, any strategies for protec ...
Loading Comments...