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. The only effective immediate means of ensuring the Tasmanian Devils' survival is through managed captive populations. Vital fencing work to prevent the interaction from diseased populations to clean populations is paramount. Conservation Volunteers Australia will help build fences to protect disease-free populations at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
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.
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