important part in the management of Devil Facial Tumour
Disease is the insurance population of non-infected
Tasmanian Devils created as a precaution against the
spread of the disease in the wild.
in 2005, Young Devils from areas of the State where
the disease has not been detected were taken to secure
quarantine facilities and were monitored to ensure
their disease free status.
December 2006 and January 2007, 47 of these Devils
(29 adults and 18 imps) were transferred to mainland
Zoos and Wildlife park breeding programs. The 20 adults
produced 14 offspring, this insurance population is
hoped to be an invaluable genetic pool in the future.
The Tasmanian Devils in these "Noah Ark"
shipments will be kept in strict quarantine at their
new homes for at least a year, by which time it's
hoped they will be cleared to breed with other captive
devil populations. These animals could then be used,
if ever needed, to re-populate mainland Tasmania.
two adult devils that went to Currumbin Zoo in Queensland
died within weeks of arrival. The cause of the deaths
has not been determined.
In April 2007 Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary announced
that one of the Tasmanian Devils was carrying up to
four young in its pouch. This news is encouraging
however more needs to be done to ensure the survival
of this species. As a result 30 more young Tasmanian
Devils have been captured in the North West of Tasmania
in areas that are still disease free to be added to
the insurance population.
Devils, which have been in quarantine, are now due
to be sent to their new homes. They will be will be
transported to Western Plains Zoo, managed by the
NSW Zoological Parks Board, and to the Australian
Reptile Park in Gosford, NSW, which will be the largest
breeding facility for Tasmania devils on the mainland.
There are currently no Tasmanian Devils on Tasmania's
offshore islands and there is a possibility that Devil
populations could be established there. All risks
and potential problems, such as the impact it would
have on the wildlife on the islands, are being researched
and accessed before going ahead with the project.
January 2008, 100 Tasmanian Devils from the North
West of Tasmania will be captured and included in
the insurance policy. Over the last few months scientist
from the DPIW have been monitoring Devils in various
locations in the North West to determine the best
areas that are currently disease free to trap the
Devils. Once captured these Devils will be housed
under strict veterinary supervision in purpose-built
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has determined that
we need an effective population size of around 500
breeding devils to maintain the genetic diversity
of the species over a period of 10 to 20 years. This
may mean having as many as 1,500 devils being intensively
managed in captivity – a massive task.
Ark" could be the Tasmanian Devils only chance
of survival if scientist are unable to find a cure
to this disease and the cause. It is predicted that
the Tasmanian Devil could be extinct in the wild in
as little as 20 years.
Information from the Devil Disease Program website
for further information visit their website