One of the most famous creature australia has to offer is the Tasmanian Devil. It is largest mammal Carnivour and an Icon throughout Tasmania. They were made famous through warner Bros Patrial of them as the hunourous Tassie Devil.
Despite the fierce reputations the Devil is quite shy, they can be heard at night as their howling screeches and haunting howls ring out through the Tasmanian Wilderness.
However these incredible creatures are in fast decline. A form has of cancer has gripped this creatures causing horrible facial tumours which eventually lead the animal starving to death. The disease was first witnessed in 1996 and has since spread throughout the eastern half of the state. As at November 2007, the Tasmanian devil disease had been confirmed at 60 different locations across 59% of Tasmania’s mainland with the West coast area being disease free so far. At this rate the Tasmanian Devil will be extinct within 20years.
Across the state and indeed the country an effect to keep the species alive and therefore prevent another extinction is underway with disease free animals being moved into quarentine areas both in Tasmania and on Mainland Australia to be kept as breeding stock.
This project is called Project Ark. and is a project to capture and remove healthy animals in an attempt to keep breeding population, to date there is around 100 animals with in the ark with expected targets of 500-1500 animals to keep genetic diversity.
The cause of the facial tumour disease is at present unknown… however research can now diagnose animals… there has been much speculation as where and how the outbreak happened with poisons and pesticides being thought by many as the starting point, a mutated reaction to something but this is speculation, however this disease has never been seen in animals prior to 1996. It is almost unheard off for a rebust species such as the Devils being driven to extinction by a newly formed unheard of disease. Although testing and research into a cure have been underway for almost a decade and with no immunity or resistance within the animals and no immunisation or treatment we stand to loose this creature as another casualty of mans inattention to the environment
Check out these links to see how you can help or for just further information on these wonderful creatures… and help us save another species. Even Warners Bros is trying….
I was going to fill the page with images of devils healthy and sick but it is far to upsetting. If you wish to see for yourself what this disease looks like you will find images in some of the links below but I do warn you it is not a pretty site.
Warners Bros Even Hollywood tries to save the Devils