The Tasmanian Devil is Tasmania's iconic species and is the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. It has experienced devastating decline from a 'common and stable' status to 'endangered', suffering from threats including deadly facial tumours, road-kill and dog attacks. Conservation Volunteers Australia needs to build safety enclosures and monitor captive populations of Tasmanian Devils to ensure the survival of the species.
The Tasmanian Devil has experienced devastating decline from a 'common and stable' status to 'endangered', suffering from threats including deadly facial tumours, road-kill and dog attacks. The fatal, contagious cancer referred to as devil facial tumour disease currently has no known vaccination, treatment or way to detect the disease, before the tumours occur. According to some predictions, the devil facial tumour disease could wipe out wild Tasmanian Devils in less than 40 years.
Ongoing research is attempting to find ways to diagnose and prevent the disease in the wild; however this research is complex and lengthy. Vital fencing work to prevent the interaction from diseased populations to clean populations is paramount. Conservation Volunteers Australia has already helped build fences to protect disease-free populations at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and is also helping restore essential habitat for this special species.
The purpose of captive populations is to insure against the possible extinction of Tasmanian Devils in the wild, and to provide for the release of healthy Devils to the wild at appropriate times to maintain the species' ecological function in the long-term. The captive populations will be protected and maintained until such time as it is no longer required for future release of Devils to the wild. Improved habitats for Devils also benefit all wildlife, with more native trees and less weeds.