Tasmanian devils to get fresh start

2012-11-14 14:52
A Tasmanian devil is pictured with a cancerous growth on its face. (AP/Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water & Environment, HO)

A Tasmanian devil is pictured with a cancerous growth on its face. (AP/Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water & Environment, HO)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney - A group of Tasmanian devils will be transferred to a small Australian island to start what is hoped will be a self-sustaining population, free from the facial tumour that has devastated their species.

Tasmania's Environment Minister Brian Wightman said 14 of the marsupials, carefully selected from captive breeding programmes across Australia, would be released Thursday on Maria Island, a nature sanctuary off the state's east coast.

He said it was a "major step forward" in the race against extinction of the devil due to an extremely contagious facial tumour that has decimated the once-rampant rat-like marsupial.

Their plight is so dire authorities have started breeding a so-called "insurance population" in captivity to ensure they do not die out.

"The Maria Island translocation is designed to establish a self-sustaining population of healthy wild devils in a safe haven where they are protected from interaction with the deadly facial tumour disease," Wightman said.

"It will strengthen the insurance population of disease-free Tasmanian devils, help preserve wild traits in the insurance population and provide genetic stock for future reintroductions."

Cancer


Tasmania is the only place where the devil is found in the wild and since the facial tumour was first discovered in 1996 numbers have plunged by 91% to the low tens of thousands.

There are few disease-free pockets remaining on the island state.

The cancer, which typically causes death within three to six months, is spread during fighting over food and territory, when a healthy devil will bite an infected devil's face and pick up cancer cells.

Maria Island, a rugged national park that can only be reached by boat or plane and is vehicle and shop-free, has never before been a devil habitat so Wightman said there was "no known risk of the facial tumour disease".

National Environment Minister Tony Burke said the transfer was a method of "last resort and it has to be done carefully with good scientific oversight", with all animals to be carefully screened before release.

Experts had deemed the devils unlikely to impact other native species on the island and the ecosystem would be monitored carefully, he added.

If successful authorities plan to increase the overall population on Maria Island over the next two years to about 50 animals.
Read more on:    animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mercury has moved into Libra which adds a more social energy to the way you can communicate and connect things. Today is about...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.