It's been an extremely busy but rewarding time of the year for Devil Ark. This year, the Ark has welcomed its 300th joey! Following another successful year for Devil Ark, located in the Barrington Tops, NSW, a total of 48 Tasmanian Devils were born, who will help to ensure survival of the species.
Photo above: ‘Dash’ Tasmanian Devil joey born in 2018 contributing to 48 joeys born this year!
2018 Devil joeys are nearing a natural weaning age where they are big enough to leave mum and venture out alone. All Tasmanian Devils at the Ark will be caught in November by Devil Ark staff, where they are checked to ensure optimum health, and then placed into new social groups for the upcoming breeding season. Young Devils will be placed with Devils their size and age where they will learn important social skills. All Devils live in wild environments, enabling them to retain wild behaviours to ensure their successful survival if returned home to Tasmania when the time is right.
Thanks to FAME's ongoing support through donor funding, Devil Ark remains the most successful captive breeding facility for the endangered Tasmanian Devil on the mainland. The facility, which began in 2011 with 44 founder animals now holds an impressive 52% of the mainland insurance population, being approximately 150 animals.
Currently classified as endangered (EPBC Act, 1999), the Tasmanian Devil is under threat from a transmissible disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). In Tasmania, the disease has reduced the wild population to less than 90% in some areas. DFTD continues to risk the endangered Tasmanian Devil population. With still no cure or vaccine in sight and a continuing population decline, insurance programs like Devil Ark continue to be the species’ best hope of long term survival.
With the fate of Tasmanian Devils in Tasmania still extremely fragile, every individual Devil is crucial to the species survival.