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Help save the tasmanian devil

Updated on February 23, 2012

Introduction to the Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial in the world. They are now only found in Tasmania but they once roamed across Australia and on islands around the coast. They have black fur with a bit of white on their chest, their size also can vary greatly, depending on the diet and habitat. Adult males are usually larger than adult females. Large males weigh up to 12 kg, and stand about 30 cm high.

Devils in danger

Our Tassie devils are in danger of becoming extinct due to a fatal disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). It is a cancer or tumor that appears around the face and head and sometimes other parts of the body. It is spread from devil to devil through biting. Due to a lack of genetic diversity among Tasmanian devils their bodies don't recognise the cells as foreign so the cells aren't rejected by the animal's immune system. This disease affects the adults mainly and may become emaciated if the tumours interfere with teeth and feeding.
Due to this disease they were declared an endangered species in 2009. In some areas more than 90% of the population has been wiped out. At this stage there is still no cure for the disease.

So far ther eare around 300 healthy devils that are being bred in zoos and conservation parks, they are being kept seperate to be able to save the species from extinction. The goal is to be able to have over 500.

The famous tazzie devil from Warner Brothers!

Mention the Tas Devil and people think of this :)
Mention the Tas Devil and people think of this :)

Do you care about our devils? :)

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    • BabyCheetah profile image

      BabyCheetah 4 years ago from Melbourne

      It is sad but breeding them seems to be going well and they are still researching what causes these tumors.

      Haha usually it's the other way around, people know th eWB character but idn't know it was a real animal :D

    • profile image

      Somebody 4 years ago

      I always knew about Tassie Devils - just didn't realise that that WB Character was meant to be one. :-)

      They look so cute in real life - it is sad that they have to go through so much.

    • BabyCheetah profile image

      BabyCheetah 6 years ago from Melbourne

      Haha yeah I know Warner Brothers made them famous but they are certainly real. Thank you for commenting :)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      lovely article- i didnt realise that they were a real animal i thought they were a cartoon character. Hopefully they will be able to find a cure for this disease

    • BabyCheetah profile image

      BabyCheetah 6 years ago from Melbourne

      Thank you for reading Tygrik, glad you like the article :)

      You seen to be very well informed about them too. I am optimistic that they will survive and hope they will find a cure to this disease :(

    • profile image

      Tygrik 6 years ago

      The biggest problem with the DFTD is, that the first photos were published in 1996. There were no reaction from the public ...

      There are a few animals in the zoo with partial immunity, but it is not enough to save them. The tumor is fatal from 3 to 12 months.

      The reason why the tumor infects mainly the adults it that the youths don't fight for food.

      Anyway - great article and I hope the tasmanian devil will not end up like tasmanian tiger. Thankfully it is not a zoonosis ...