Today is a wonderful milestone for Zoos Victoria: eleven Tasmanian Devils, eight of which were bred at Healesville Sanctuary and three from Monarto Zoo in South Australia, will be returned to the wilds of Tasmania – for the first time ever today.
The devils will be released on Maria Island off Tasmania’s east coast to join a small population of disease-free devils established there over the past year. The healthy devils have been held in quarantine at Halls Gap Zoo for the past month in preparation for their return to Tasmania.
These are the first of the insurance population devils – born in captivity on mainland Australia – to be returned to Tasmania and released into the wild. They will boost the population established on the Island last year, expanding the gene pool and increasing the number of devils to suit the island’s carrying capacity.
The devils from Healesville Sanctuary are descendents of the first 20 wild-caught founders that established Healesville Sanctuary’s program in 2007.
Saving this iconic Australian species involves many different people across the country, working together towards a common cause and is more than six years in the making! We have a long way to go to ensure the devil’s survival in the wild in Tasmania but will continue to work closely with our partners towards this goal.
On the endangered list, a shocking 85% of the wild population of Tasmanian Devils are affected by a facial-tumour. Zoos Victoria is committed to saving this unique species. You can help us fight extinction by adopting the Tasmanian Devil.