Tasmanian Devils Born On Mainland Australia For First Time In 3,000 Years
Seven Tasmanian devil joeys have been born in the wild on mainland Australia for the first time in more than 3,000 years.
In what has been described as a ‘special kind of baby boom’, the animals were born in the 400-hectare Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in New South Wales following a years-long effort from nonprofit Aussie Ark in partnership with Re:wild and Wild Ark.
The babies arrived after Aussie Ark introduced a total of 26 Tasmanian devils back in the wild on mainland Australia, and in an Instagram post celebrating the birth of the joeys the nonprofit explained that once the devils were back, establishing a sustainable population was ‘entirely up to them’.
Aussie Ark’s post continued, ‘We had been watching them from afar until it was time to step in and confirm the birth of our first wild joeys. And what a moment it was!’
The return of Tasmanian devils to the wild comes after the animals vanished from the mainland following the arrival of dingoes, a species of wild dogs, and the spread of a disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease, which is believed to have killed almost 90% of the population, The Independent reports.
Aussie Ark believes there only 25,000 Tasmanian devils left in the wild in Tasmania, with the nonprofit’s president, Tim Faulkner, commending the successful operation to increase their numbers.
He commented, ‘We’ve been able to historically – albeit in its infancy – return the devil to the mainland, and today is another milestone entirely.’
Faulkner said the ‘ultimate success’ of the project would be to achieve a ‘self-regulating, self-sustaining population of devils on mainland Australia, contributing [to] and balancing the greater ecology’.
Known to be the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials, Tasmanian devils can reach 30inches in length and weigh up to 26 pounds.
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