SPECIES: Sarcophilus harrisii — Tasmanian Devil
What would Australia be without the iconic Tasmanian Devil? The Tasmanian Devil is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. It has a black coat with white patches, a cute shiny nose and reddish ears. Some 3,000 years ago - long before European settlement, the Devil was also found across mainland Australia, but sadly was hunted by the Dingo. It's a species endemic to Tasmania, is a scavenger by nature, and its incredible sense of smell and powerful jaws equip it with just what it needs to tear apart a carcass - fur, bones, meat and all.
Tasmanian Devils are found across all parts of Tasmania - in coastal areas, all the way up to mountainous habitats, though they are thought to prefer forest and woodland. To breed and raise their young, they will remain in an underground burrow - or den. Their lifespan in the wild is quite short, up to 5-6 years. Infamously, Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has had a devastating impact on the wild populaltions of the Tasmanian Devil. First diagnosed in 1996, it is thought to have wiped out up to 90% of devils in the wild.
Hard work is being done by organisations to save the Tassie Devil from extinction, including Aussie Ark, which has established a captive breeding program and is raising a population of disease-free devils, to be rewilded into Tasmania. FAME is proud to be a founding partner of Aussie Ark's Tasmanian Devil program and is committed to providing ongoing support to Devil projects. For more info visit www.fame.org.au/projects/saving-the-tasmanian-devi...
Photo: Sarah Ash