10 Jun TASMANIAN DEVIL JOEYS BORN IN THE WILD
Aussie Ark, WildArk and Re:wild are celebrating the birth of 9 Tasmanian Devils born in the wild on mainland Australia for the second year in a row. The arrival of these pint-sized carnivores is an important moment in our DevilComeback campaign, a wild plan to rewild Australia – the country with the world’s worst mammal extinction rate.
In 2020, 28 Tasmanian devils were released into the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary which marked the start of the DevilComeback campaign. Successful breeding of Tasmanian devils in the wild was confirmed last year for the first time in 3,000 years. This year’s season was critical in determining the long-term success of the program, and the confirmation of 9 joeys already in pouch is a significant step in the right direction.
“There is something incredibly special about checking devil pouches every year. Nothing beats peeking into the mother’s pouch and seeing that tiny pink joey. It’s even more special out here in the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, where we know they are living completely wild – without human intervention” said Kelly Davis, Aussie Ark Curator.
We are thrilled at the arrival of the Tasmanian devil joeys and the success of the program. Our Tasmanian devil breeding program is the most successful conservation breeding facility for the endangered species on mainland Australia. At its founding, the program started with 44 individuals and today is home to more than 200—which equals about 50 percent of the entire mainland insurance population. To date, more than 400 devils have been born and raised at Aussie Ark in a way that encourages and fosters natural behaviour in the animals, helping to ensure that they maintain all the skills they need to survive in the wild.
We will continue pouch checks over the coming weeks and are expecting to confirm upwards of 19 joeys in total. Following the pouch checks the team will monitor the devils through motion sensor cameras, and 6 months expect to see juvenile Tasmanian devils exploring the sanctuary.
We have now confirmed a total of 56 Tasmanian devil joeys born so far this year; that number is expected to continue to rise.
Tasmanian devils vanished entirely from mainland Australia in large part because they were outcompeted by introduced dingoes, which hunt in packs. Dingoes never made it to Tasmania, but across the island state, a transmissible, painful, and fatal disease called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD)—the only known contagious cancer—decimated up to 90 percent of the wild population of Tasmanian devils. Just 25,000 devils are left in the wild of Tasmania today.
Aussie Ark was established in 2011 as a solution to the extinction crisis facing the iconic Australian mammal. Since its inception, Aussie Ark has expanded to protect 15 Keystone Australian species and are actively working to secure and protect Australia’s forests.