For the first time in 3,000 years, Tasmanian Devils have been reintroduced to a 1,000 acre sanctuary in mainland Australia. A conservation group released a group of 26 of the mammals back into a sanctuary in a city north of Syndey called Barrington Tops.
Their existence was believed to be diminished completely on the mainland by Australian Dingoes and while they are still living on the island of Tasmania but numbers have been on the decline in for over 20 years. While they’ve been released into a monitored facility, they have not been given any sort of assistance such as food, water or shelter. They were introduced here to keep make sure their chances of survival are kept high.
President of Aussie Ark, Tim Faulkner, spoke to National Geographic about the release of these animals, “They’re free. They’re out there,” he said, “We’ve got some basic means of keeping an eye on them. But essentially, now it’s over to the devils to do what they do.”
The first group of 15 of these small mammals was released back in March and after close monitoring of this group, seeing them do well in the environment, another group of 11 was released. Aussie Ark hopes to release more of Tasmanian devils – their goal is another 40 within the next two years.
As they monitor the group of these animals, they will determine when is the right time to release them into unfenced areas, as that is the ultimate goal. According to the BBC, these animals do not pose any harm or threat to humans or agriculture.
The decline of the number of Tasmanian Devils in the wild came in the 1990s when the species developed a mouth cancer, tanking the number of animals to about 25,000 that are estimated to be in the wild today.