World News – UA – Tasmanian devils released to sanctuary north of Sydney for ‘rebirth’


If all 30 animals thrive in the predator-free area of ​​the Barrington Tops, this could be a step towards reintroduction to mainland Australia

Environmentalists working with disease-free Tasmanian devils have taken the next step in what they hope will be a ‘rebirth’ project that could potentially allow the species to be reintroduced to mainland Australia

About 30 demons, free from Devil’s Facial Tumor Disease, have been released into a 500 ha, predator-free sanctuary in Barrington Tops National Park, north of Sydney

Aussie Ark will use tracking devices and camera traps to monitor the behavior of animals in their new surroundings and determine if releasing demons into a wild environment could help with conservation

If the demons breed and thrive in the sanctuary, another group of animals will be released to a second predator-free area within a year

Tim Faulkner, chairman of Aussie Ark, said the end goal is to release Tasmanian demons into the wider landscape to see if the reintroduction of a native species that is a top predator will help restore the ecology of forests that have been devastated by foxes, cats and other invasive predators

“Once we move from sanctuary type management to the natural landscape, the concept is that we have a natural predator roaming the landscape,” he said.

« Tasmanian devils represent a very unique natural control measure for our wild pests and in the absence of predators from the mainland, they bring balance to the ecosystem »

Aussie Ark began raising an insurance population of Tasmanian devils in Barrington Tops ten years ago, when devil’s facial tumor disease caused a massive decline in demon populations in Tasmania

Until now, the demons of Barrington Tops had been held in enclosures the size of a football field at an elevation of 1350 meters, with cool conditions similar to Tasmania

Thirty devils have been chosen for the first outing at the new sanctuary and will be evaluated quarterly to check their health and reproductive rate Environmentalists working on the program will feed the demons at first, but this will gradually decrease, the animals that must predate kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and possums

The Tasmanian Devils inhabited mainland Australia The exact time of their extinction on the continent is uncertain, but scientists have suggested dates ranging from 500 to 5,000 years ago, with their extinction being attributed to factors such as climate change , hunting and the introduction of the dingo

The ecological role they could play and the value of reintroducing a native apex predator to mainland Australia has been the subject of much debate in the scientific and conservation community

Euan Ritchie, ecologist at Deakin University, studied the ecological role of Australian predators and how they could be used in conservation to help restore ecosystems

He said the demons weren’t just « scavengers » and would also hunt prey, with some research suggesting they could control overabundant herbivores, as well as wild pests.

Ritchie said there are risks associated with reintroducing a species into an ecosystem as any new species will interact with and affect other animals and plants to varying degrees.

« Any reintroduction of demons should take this into consideration, especially if the reintroduction was to take place beyond a fenced-in sanctuary, and in the presence of any already threatened species of demon prey, » he said. he declared

But Ritchie said Australia’s ‘excruciating’ conservation record, including its world’s highest mammal extinction rate, meant the country needed to consider new approaches to restore ecosystems and return demons in some areas « worth chasing »

Menna Jones, an ecologist at the University of Tasmania, has spent three decades searching for predators and marsupial carnivores, including the Tasmanian devil

She said that in circumstances where the reasons for a species’ local extinction were understood and the presence of that species could serve an ecological function, there was « absolutely no reason why you should not. could not put it back « 

However, Jones said the reintroduction of the demons would require staged trial versions to gather evidence of their impact on the landscape, including whether they predate the foxes. She said broad consultation with anyone likely to be affected – especially farmers – would be essential

« We need to do this with broad consultation and we need evidence that their relocation to the continent will not create an increased problem, it could solve an existing problem »

Tasmanian Devil, Tasmania, Mainland Australia, Chris Hemsworth, Marsupials, Elsa Pataky

World News – UA – Tasmanian devils released in a sanctuary north of Sydney in sight rebirth »


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