The landmark release of 39 healthy Tasmanian devils on Forestier Peninsula later today will help re-establish a wild population free of Deadly Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
Australia’s Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt and Tasmanian Environment Minister Matthew Groom welcome the release ¬– by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program – on private property this afternoon.
Minister Hunt said the relocation of these devils represents the culmination of years of hard work to protect and recover the species.
“It is a crucial part of ongoing efforts to explore ways to rebuild populations affected by DFTD and establish wild devil recovery zones across Tasmania to coordinate conservation of wild devils.”
The devastating disease was detected in devils living on Forestier Peninsula in 2004 and – after an unsuccessful attempt to remove the infected animals – the area was entirely depopulated in 2012 to ensure it was disease-free.
“The return of disease-free animals to this site is another exciting step in joint efforts by the Australian and Tasmanian governments to save this iconic species,” Minister Hunt said.
Minister Groom said the release is part of Tasmania’s Wild Devil Recovery Project, established in 2014 under the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to get healthy devils returned to the Tasmanian bush.
“The devils to be released onto the Forestier Peninsula include some of the descendants of animals removed in the depopulation,” Minister Groom said.
“The devils chosen for this release have been carefully selected for wild traits and good genetics to assist in boosting the existing population of approximately 20 healthy devils already living on the nearby Tasman Peninsula.”
Minister Groom said the Forestier Peninsula is an ideal location to protect healthy devils because it is naturally isolated by the Denison Canal at Dunalley, has large areas of suitable devil habitat and is big enough for a self-sustaining population of devils.”
“This latest wild devil release follows the release of 48 disease-free devils on Maria Island and into Narawntapu National Park over the past three years,” Minister Groom said.
“These devils are all part of an insurance population of around 600 animals held in 41 facilities throughout Tasmania and interstate. Yesterday’s release included devils from New South Wales, Victoria and here at home in Tasmania.”
Tasmania’s Wild Devil Recovery Project is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments.
The Forestier Peninsula translocation is possible due to the ongoing commitment by the Tasmanian government, the continued support of the Australian government, and the strong partnership with the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA), the University of Tasmania, San Diego Zoo Global, zoos, wildlife parks and other facilities across Tasmania, Australia and overseas.