The Tasmanian Devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world and is found in the wild only in Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Devil has suffered significant population decline since the mid 1990s due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), an infectious cancer which is transmitted between individuals through biting.
The devastating disease is sweeping through Tasmania's devil population, killing more than 90% of adults in high density areas and 40-50% in medium-low density areas. Tasmanian Devils were declared as Endangered in May 2008.
The low genetic diversity in Tasmanian Devils has increased their susceptibility to this disease and animals usually die within months of contracting the disease. Average sightings of devils have declined by over 50% during the past 10 years and it's estimated that Tasmanian Devils could go extinct within 25-30 years.
Australian zoos and wildlife parks are working together with the government of Tasmania to place disease-free devils into an 'insurance breeding program' that breeds healthy devils and maintains the maximum genetic-diversity of the species so that if the worst happens and the disease wipes them out in the wild, the zoos can repopulate devil habitat with disease-free animals in the future. This program and extensive research studies are all part of the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program (STTDP).
Zoo-based Insurance Breeding Program to protect endangered Tasmanian Devils
Acting together to protect threatened species, zoos co-operate under a Conservation Management Program to breed native animals, ensuring they are healthy not only in terms of individuals but also on behalf of an entire species, to ensure that the genetic diversity and health of the species is protected.
Australian Zoos and wildlife parks have come together to establish an insurance breeding program for Tasmanian Devils.
Conservation Management Programs for threatened species are coordinated by the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA). ARAZPA has been a driving force in harnessing the collective capacities of its member zoos and wildlife parks in Australia to come together to try to save Tasmanian Devils.
Tasmanian Devils Need Your Help - donate to tassiedevilappeal.org
Tasmanian Devils are an icon species, unique to Tasmania, and the largest remaining carnivorous marsupial ion the world.
They may not be cute and cuddly - in fact their known for their screeching and fierce behaviour - yet for a small animal, much of their spine-tingling snarls are for show to threaten other devils away.
Due to deadly disease, numbers of Tasmanian Devils have dropped so alarmingly in the past 10 years, there is now a very real threat that they could all be wiped out within a few years time.
Zoos and wildlife parks are acting immediately to take young wild devils before they get the disease and put them into special facilities where they can be protected and bred. This is to ensure that devils will not become extinct as a species in the wild.
Our zoos and the devils desperately need your support and help to provide immediate facilities for disease-free devils where they can breed and eventually released back into the wild.
In this day and age, surely we can come together to support this unique species and not let it slide towards extinction in our lifetime.
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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