For the first time in 3000 years, wild Tasmanian Devils can be spotted roaming around the wilderness of Australia. This is a result of a coordinated effort by Aussie Ark, Global Wildlife Conservation, and Wild Ark. They also roped in Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Patkay, and together they released 11 Tasmanian Devils into the forest of New South Wales last month, where they all roamed around once!
Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark put out a statement, “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 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.”
After the introduction of 26 Tasmanian Devils in the forest of Barington Tops, an area free of invasive predators, which will allow the devil population to grow. The Tasmanian Devil vanished because of a deadly disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) and around 90 percent of the population disappeared. Only 25,000 devils are estimated to be left and are now classified as an endangered species.
Aussie Ark has planned three phases of reintroduction of the Tasmanian Devil and this is the first one. In the next two years they will release 20 new devils at a time. The animals will be monitored through surveys, radio collars, and camera traps to learn where they’re claiming territory, what challenges they face, and their impact on the environment. Data from these studies will be used to refine the release process for future rewilding efforts.
Aussie Ark, has been developing a Tasmanian Devil breeding conservation program for more than 10 years now. The Tasmanian Devil is one of the seven cornerstone species that Aussie Ark hopes to reintroduce to Barrington Tops over the coming years. Repopulating the sanctuaries could help restore the sanctuary’s natural balance, including encouraging the forests to regenerate!
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