A great news has come from Australia. There, after 3000 years in the open forests, a creature named Tasmanian Devil has been born. This small dog-sized creature is a carnivore. It is also called the World’s Largest Marsupail Carnivore.
“It was very moving,” said Tim Faulkner, the president of Aussie Ark, the conservation group that has been leading attempts to re-establish populations of the devils, long after they were eliminated on the mainland, most likely by wild Australian dogs, known as dingoes.
Currently, Tasmania has only 25,000 devils in the wild, compared to the 150,000 devils that used to exist earlier. The population of these marsupials, according to a report in CNN, had reduced after the arrival of the wild dog species known as Dingoes, on the mainland.
However, their numbers suffered another blow from a contagious form of cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which is responsible for killing around 90% of the population since it was discovered in 1996.
Tasmanian devils are small carnivorous marsupial having a coarse coat of brown or black fur. They look like baby bears but have either a white strip or a patch on their body. They have an average lifespan of up to five years in the wild.
“We have been working tirelessly for the better part of 10 years to return Devils to the wild of mainland Australia with the hope that they would establish a sustainable population. Once they were back, it was entirely up to them,” Aussie Ark said in a statement on Monday. “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!”
In Tasmania itself, there are only 25,000 devils are left in the wild, according to Aussie Ark.
Tim posted a video posted on Instagram in which he stated, “We’ve been able to historically — albeit in its infancy — return the devil to mainland, and today is another milestone entirely.”
While the births were an important breakthrough, some scientists cautioned that breeding the animals in close-to-wild conditions was a far cry from having them survive in unfenced areas where they were at risk of becoming prey or roadkill.
“Maintaining a thriving population of devils in the wild is everyone’s goal,” said Andrew Flies, an immunologist at the University of Tasmania who is developing a vaccine to protect Tasmanian devils against cancer. But he added, “if you take the fences away, the devils might not do so well.”