Bringing Devils Back into the Tasmanian Wild
Twenty healthy devils were released back into the wild at Narawntapu National Park (NNP) in northern Tasmania, vaccinated with a potentially game changing vaccine against the Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
This field trial will test the immunisation response against DFTD to help refine and develop more effective vaccination techniques.
Re-wilding through insurance population animals is an important part of the program as it assists in increasing the genetic diversity of suppressed wild populations as well as directly increasing numbers.
The animals released at NNP will join existing devils already living in the park. Save The Tasmanian Devil Program staff will return two weeks after the release, then four weeks, then eight and then 12 weeks later to monitor the devil population.
The 20 devils (11 males and 9 females) come from an Insurance Population housed in Free Range Enclosures (FREs) at Bicheno and Launceston.
This field trial is a tangible step in the journey to bring the devil back into the Tasmanian wild; the next milestone will be to see them start breeding in the wild and thus further ensuring their chances of survival into the future.
This is an important step in ensuring the Tasmanian devil’s long term survival in the wild. This program is about re-establishing and boosting wild populations in Tasmania.
Significant advances in the Insurance Population and work to protect isolated devil populations have enabled the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) to develop and commence this next step in the species' conservation.
It is part of the Wild Devil Recovery Project that places emphasis on population monitoring, field research and testing of possible vaccines and immunisation techniques, resulting in the implementation of work to manage wild devil populations.
The Tasmanian devil, as a species, is now more secure than it has been at any time during the past decade due to the outstanding success of the Insurance Population program.
However the devil continues to face serious ongoing challenges to its survival in the wild. That is why the Tasmanian Government is redoubling its efforts in facilitating further research into the Devil Facial Tumour Disease as well toward the development of effective vaccines.
The release of the healthy devils is an important new phase in ongoing efforts to save this iconic species, the Tasmanian devil, in the wild. We owe it to this precious and iconic species to secure a strong, disease free future in its natural setting, where it belongs – in the wild.
The Wild Devil Recovery Project is a joint initiative between the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) and is supported through funding from the Tasmanian Government.
Parks/tracks affected by bushfires
Update for 23 January 2013 - 3pm
Southwest National Park: a large fire impacted on the area between Port Davey and Lake Pedder in early-mid January. Although the fire is no longer active, some track infrastructure is damaged. See below for info.
All access tracks to the Eastern Arthur range are now open.
The Western Arthurs are now open but access is limited.
Closed tracks: Arthur Plains Track/Mackays Track, and Port Davey Track are still closed due to fire impact on infrastructure.
Hence the Western Arthurs can only be accessed via Moraine A and walkers must return via this route (ie the Arthur Plains remain closed). Also, walkers cannot proceed along the Port Davey track beyond the Moraine A turnoff.
Tracks in the western end of the Western Arthurs, in particular the Junction Creek area and to Mt Hesperus, Lake Cygnus have been impacted by fire, and the Junction Creek campsite is not available for use.
Southwest National Park: The Scotts Peak Road, Mt Anne Circuit and Lake Judd Track are open. The South Coast Track is open. Access is still available to Melaleuca, however visitors are advised not to travel north of Melaleuca. The Huon and Edgar campgrounds are now open.
For the latest information on bushfires, go to the Tasmania Fire Service website www.fire.tas.gov.au or listen to your local ABC radio.
Near the coast north of Port Davey....
...and the Crossing River valley.
Giblin River fire.