Saturday, January 23, 2016

Devil's in recovery

Devil in Recovery

Since the discovery of the mouth cancer that has decimated over 90 percent of the Tasmanian Devil population back in 2009 moves have been made to ensure the continuance of this unusual marsupial.


The South East Peninsular is being used as a sanctuary to release disease free animals in an attempt to stabilise the wild population numbers. The land of the peninsular is separated from the rest of the island by a  man made canal used originally to hamper the escape of convicts.

Devil's will posture over food and occasionally this ends in nasty bites that can spread a transmittable cancer. This is one of only two types of cancer possible to transmit and it is done so through open wounds caused during a fight. The only other known example of such a cancer is transmitted dog to dog.

There may also be a feline strain though I believe it has not been substantiated yet.

Keeping track of animals released in the sanctuary is carried out by staff from UnZoo to monitor numbers and gain a better knowledge of this elusive and relatively unknown creature.
When in Tassie make sure you pay them a visit.

If and when the disease dies out in wild populations, the plan is to restock the island from the captive breeding programs. As not all animals in the wild will succumb it may take years to ensure that reinfection cannot occur and that the strain of cancer is extinct.