Good News From Australia

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Sertorio
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Good News From Australia

Post by Sertorio » Thu Oct 07, 2021 9:46 am

Tasmanian devil making a comeback on Australia's mainland
By Greg Navarro
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-10-07/T ... index.html

A year has passed since the conservation group Aussie Ark released more than two dozen Tasmanian devils into a sprawling, remote reserve in New South Wales. It is part of an innovative program aimed at bringing the species back to Australia's mainland after they were likely wiped out by predators 3,000 years ago.

"We've had zero mortality so every single devil that we released survived," said Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner. "That's a really significant thing in itself. We had initially offered and subsided food for their settling in and we've really radically decreased that and, perhaps most excitingly throughout that year, the devils have gone through a reproductive cycle. We observed mating and then in June we were able to trap, which is the only way to see the devils, and to inspect to see if we had pouch young and we indeed did."

Image
Tasmanian devil joeys have been born in the reserve.

neverfail
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Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Good News From Australia

Post by neverfail » Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:59 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 9:46 am
Tasmanian devil making a comeback on Australia's mainland
By Greg Navarro
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-10-07/T ... index.html

A year has passed since the conservation group Aussie Ark released more than two dozen Tasmanian devils into a sprawling, remote reserve in New South Wales. It is part of an innovative program aimed at bringing the species back to Australia's mainland after they were likely wiped out by predators 3,000 years ago.

"We've had zero mortality so every single devil that we released survived," said Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner. "That's a really significant thing in itself. We had initially offered and subsided food for their settling in and we've really radically decreased that and, perhaps most excitingly throughout that year, the devils have gone through a reproductive cycle. We observed mating and then in June we were able to trap, which is the only way to see the devils, and to inspect to see if we had pouch young and we indeed did."

Image
Tasmanian devil joeys have been born in the reserve.
That photo of the devil joey laying contentedly in the arm of a conservationist reminds me that it is just as well that the joey is not a fully grown adult from the wild. They have such powerful jaws that one can easily bite the hand off a human.

Thanks for re-publishing that article on this website, Sertorio. Just over a year ago I had heard news about the supervised introduction of this species to the Australian mainland but nothing since.
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I believe that in the wild Tasmanian devils, while carniverous in diet, are not hunters as much as scavengers of carrion: like crows, vultures or jackals. They estimate that the likely culprit that drove their species to extinction on mainland Australia was the Aboriginal hunting dog, the dingo. Since the dingo like all other dogs are placential whereas all of Australia's native mammals but two are marsupials (the two that are not are monotremes) then the dingo must be another interouced species. Since no dingo remains older than 3,000 years have ever been found that leads to the conclusion that the species must have been introduced by seafarers from Asia around 1,000 BC; where they took to the wild and spread across Australia. Aboriginals then gradually re-domesticated some of them as hunting dogs (or just as likely, the dingos may have "domesticated" the Aboriginals by hanging around their encampments :) .)

The dingo never made it to Tasmania.

The dingo would not have driven the devils to extinction on mainland Australia by attacking them - the devils with their powerful jaws and sharp teeth would have easily defended themselves. More likely they did it by out-competing the devils for food. Devils like other marsupials are slow moving whereas dingos are much more agile - so whenever carrion became available the dingos likely would have got there first.

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