World News – United States – Tasmanian devils return to Australia for the first time in 3,000 years


On Monday, wildlife managers announced that they have brought the Tasmanian demons back to the (relative) wilderness of the Australian mainland, for the first time these creatures will live there in 3000 years two-for-one bank shot attempt to save the fierce marsupials as well as creatures beset by feral cats

The cause of the Tasmanian Devil’s disappearance from mainland Australia is unclear, with some evidence linking it to overhunting by Native Australians Other signs point to the introduction of the dingo Either way, Monday’s news is part of an effort to bring the Tasmanian Devil back to his old grasp Aussie Ark, the group leading the reintroduction, has released 26 demons at a sanctuary in New South Wales near Barrington Tops National Park

The shrine is walled in and covers nearly 1,000 acres, giving the demons space to roam without affecting native wildlife outside the area Each marsupial has been fitted with a radio collar and camera traps dot the shrine This will allow scientists to study them in a somewhat controlled setting to see how they fare and interact with other wildlife

Species native to Australia have struggled in recent years; the continent faces one of the highest extinction rates on the planet Climate change has increased the heat and led to catastrophic bushfires that have resulted in the deaths of around 3 billion animals Exploitation forest also reduced habitat Tasmanian demons are fierce, but they are unlikely to stop both of these threats, although their presence could help increase forest protection

Where their reintroduction might help, however, is battling the feral cats that turned the Outback into a buffet. The cats showed up with the European settlers and quickly murdered anything they could put in. their claws A 2018 article found cats in the Outback killed 18 million reptiles each day They also slaughter 316 million birds and 800 million mammals per year Cats and foxes, another introduced species, have pushed the native fauna on the edge of the abyss

Researchers have tried new solutions, like training native creatures to fear feral cats But the devil could help fight these invasive species, and previous research has suggested reintroduction as a potential way to rebalance ecosystems Tim Faulkner, chairman of Aussie Ark, said in an email that Tasmanian demons are « regulators » of Australia’s native ecosystems

“The devil fills the ecological niche of scavenger and predator,” he said (as I continued to hum “Regulators” in my head) “It coexists with Australian wildlife, especially small mammals / marsupials Since European installation in Australia we have lost almost 40 small mammals [species] This is as much as the rest of the world combined and the highest rate of extinction on earth This is mainly due to the fox and of the wild cat By regenerating the devil, it can compete with the fox and can in turn help protect other native animals « 

The rewilding project could also help the demons themselves In Tasmania, they were wiped out by a devil’s facial tumor, a communicable cancer The population brought to the mainland is disease free and able to mate safely breeding This essentially makes them a relief population, though demons continue to decline in Tasmania

Tumor disease also gave researchers some idea of ​​what to expect with mainland cat populations Faulkner said that where demon populations have declined by 80% to 90%, « the number number of cats has increased dramatically It is easy to see that healthy Tasmanian devil populations have helped keep the number of cats in check « 

The reforestation movement has gained momentum in recent years across the world One of the most prominent examples is the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone 25 years ago The project is widely regarded as a success Elk populations have declined to levels considered healthy, causing a number of beneficial ecosystem-wide impacts known as the trophic cascade The researchers have also reduced bison in Illinois in an attempt to recreate the tall grass prairies that covered the US before settlers wiped out herds and planted monocultures of corn, wheat and soybeans in the Midwest

There was a much smaller gap between disappearance and reintroduction for these projects But Faulkner said 3000 years was « actually the ecological ‘nod, » and the Tasmanian Devil Project could bring benefits and insights into the functioning of Australia’s once intact ecosystems The group said they also plan to involve indigenous groups in the process, although the role they will play is unclear.

« Once these early redesigns are successful, we will engage with Indigenous groups and many others to collaborate and achieve bigger and better results, » said Faulkner

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

World News – US – The Tasmanian Devils are back in Australia for the first time in 3000 years


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