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Aussie Ark is delighted to announce the successful release of seven sub-adult Tasmanian Devils into the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.

Aussie Ark Supervisor Tyler Gralton managed the release with other Aussie Ark staff. 

“This is another historic day for Aussie Ark and our most famous species, the Tasmanian Devil,” Mr Gralton said. “It’s the second generation of Devils born and bred in our Barrington Tops’ facility, and a valuable genetic boost for our population of adult Devil’s already living ‘wild’ in our sanctuary.”

The Tasmanian Devil has been extinct on mainland Australia for over 3000 years. It continues to live in the wild in Tasmania, but in the 1990s the population was almost exterminated by the highly infectious and deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Today, less than 25,000 animals are left in the wild and continue to face an uncertain future.

An attempt to save the species from extinction led to Tim Faulkner establishing Devil Ark in 2020, and building the feral-proof 400 hectare feral-proof Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. The organisation received 44 Tasmanian Devils to secure an ‘insurance population’ of the species, and since then have successfully bred and rewilded hundreds of individuals.

“It’s a globally recognised conservation success story,” Mr Gralton said. “And today’s release is the next step for us. We now have the largest population of Devils on mainland Australia, and we specialise in fostering their natural behaviour to help ensure they can survive and thrive in the wild.”

The Aussie Ark team were thrilled to watch the Devils’ behaviour during the release. “When faced with the wild they all responded differently. They have very distinct personalities,” Mr Gralton said. “One female was particularly hesitant. She looked around for a while, sniffing the air, and stayed for a few minutes in the trap before heading off. But a younger male bolted away from us as fast as his legs could carry him, not once looking over his shoulder!”

Mr Gralton said it’s always a thrill to witness a wild release like this, especially for this species.

“Tasmanian Devils are totally absent from the Australian bush but here in our sanctuary they are thriving,” Mr Gralton said. “Watching a Devil running through the understorey is like seeing a ghost materialise back into flesh and blood. It’s an amazing thing.” 

Aussie Ark would like to thank their partners WIRES, Rewild, Glencore and Bev Barendse from Coast Realty for supporting their Tasmanian Devil program, as well as their community donors and supporters.

If you would like to support Aussie Ark’s Tasmanian devil program, donate today!