It’s the feel-good news we all desperately need in 2020.
For the first time in over 3000 years, Tasmanian devils are living in the wild on mainland Australia and it’s all thanks to another adorable Aussie - Chris Hemsworth.
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Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky were part of a team who last month captured, transported and released 11 Tasmanian devils into the New South Wales wilderness. The animals were set free in the Barrington Tops wildlife reserve in the Hunter region, joining another 15 devils released earlier this year.
With only 25,000 devils left in the wild, conservation experts hope this project will help save the endangered animal. Tasmania’s population plummeted after a deadly facial tumour disease spread through the state, wiping out an estimated 90 per cent of the species. All NSW bound devils have been fully vetted to ensure they are disease-free.
The world’s largest carnivorous marsupial is believed to have disappeared from mainland Australia over 3000 years ago due to the threat of dingoes. Fortunately, they were able to thrive in Tasmania where dingoes had not been introduced.
The conservation group behind this project said, ‘without Aussie Ark the Tasmanian devil stands to disappear, forever.’
If the project is successful and the animals breed, 40 more Tasmanian devils will be released on the mainland over the next two years, building up the population and potentially rescuing them from the endangered species list.
Introducing the predators will also help with ecological balance and regeneration of the national park, by managing possum and wallaby possums and culling feral cats and foxes.