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
SEP 06, 2020
Technology
Can Math Determine The Sex of a Dinosaur?
SEP 06, 2020
Can Math Determine The Sex of a Dinosaur?
Can math tell us about the gender differences in dinosaurs? A new study published a novel statistical analysis that esti ...
SEP 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
In a Surprise, Tarantulas Seem to Have Color Vision
SEP 27, 2020
In a Surprise, Tarantulas Seem to Have Color Vision
The image by Bastian Rast shows a Cobalt Blue Tarantula (Hapolpelma lividum), with brilliant cobalt blue hair-like setae ...
OCT 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Bacteria Caused the Deaths of Hundreds of Elephants
OCT 05, 2020
Bacteria Caused the Deaths of Hundreds of Elephants
African elephants are a threatened species that are increasing in some areas but at risk in many others. There are proba ...
OCT 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
OCT 22, 2020
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
A study published in the journal Environment International has found long-forgotten chemicals, called legacy chemicals, ...
OCT 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Create Antibiotic from Komodo Dragon Blood
OCT 29, 2020
Scientists Create Antibiotic from Komodo Dragon Blood
Researchers from George Mason University in Washington DC have created a synthetic molecule from Komodo Dragon blood tha ...
NOV 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
NOV 04, 2020
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
Voeltzkow’s chameleon was recently rediscovered after disappearing for more than 100 years. According to an articl ...
Loading Comments...