Tasmanian Devils Return To Mainland Australia For First Time In 3,000 Years
Eleven Tasmanian devils have been introduced into the wild on the Australian mainland for the first time in 3,000 years.
That's a hell of a lot of time for these little animals to have been away from the mainland and it's taken a big effort from conservationists to make it happen.
Aussie Ark, in partnership with Global Wildlife Conservation and WildArk, recently introduced the Tasmanian devils to their new home on a 400-acre wildlife sanctuary on Barrington Tops, north of Sydney.
It's hoped this effort will mark a new era for the animals and their survival in Australia.
Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark, said it's a huge milestone: "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.
"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 of 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."
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Tasmanian devils were hit with a double whammy of being hunted by other animals, and suffering from disease on the mainland of Australia, which caused them to retreat to their home state of Tasmania.
Packs of wild dingoes are thought to have reduced their numbers, although thankfully the larger animals never made it to Tassie.
Then a painful and fatal illness called Devil Facial Tumor Disease, which is the only known contagious cancer, started spreading and wiped out up to 90 percent of the wild population.
As the species faced the potential of extinction, a massive conservation effort has seen their numbers grow to around 25,000 in Tasmania.
The wildlife sanctuary will be vital to ensuring the survival of the devils and has been carefully constructed to ensure feral pets, diseases, weeds and even bushfires can't get in.
Don Church, president of Global Wildlife Conservation, has praised the team at Aussie Ark for their hard work.
"Without Aussie Ark's incredible work and perseverance over all of these years, the recent devil reintroduction would not have been possible and instead of looking forward to the recovery of the species, we would be watching the devil slip into extinction," he said.
"This is an incredible example of how to rewild our planet, bringing back the natural systems to the benefit of all life on Earth."
Featured Image Credit: Aussie Ark
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