More than half a million to help save the Tassie Devil
The plight of the Tasmanian Devil has been recognised by NSW Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, today confirming a $600,000 funding boost to assist the Devil Ark program.
Minister Robyn Parker was joined at Barrington Tops for this morning's announcement by local MP for Upper Hunter, George Souris, and local Mayor Clr Lee Watts.
“The iconic Tassie Devil is at serious risk of extinction due to devil facial tumour disease with population numbers falling from around 250,000 in 1996 to just 20,000. At that rate they could be extinct in the wild within 10 to 15 years,” Ms Parker said.
“Supporting the Devil Ark breeding program was an election commitment that I am pleased to confirm that we have delivered on.
“The program involves breeding an insurance population of Tasmanian Devils at the facility at Barrington Tops, which is climatically similar to Tasmania. The Tasmanian Devil’s will eventually be reintroduced into Tasmania.
“In January 43 Tasmanian Devils were released into the Barrington Tops facility, which is the largest mainland breeding facility in the country, more than half of the breeding age females now have young, what a fantastic result.
“The securely fenced, large free-range enclosures allow the animals to live close to their natural state, ensuring that they’re ready for reintroduction into the wild when the time is right,” Ms Parker said.
Devil Ark will provide a viable and sustainable model from three principal breeding programs: intensive, large managed and free-range enclosures. Once the centre reaches a Devil population of 200 the cost to keep per Devil per year will drop to just $900, well below some zoo costs associated with keeping the animals.
Devil Ark will breed and maintain Tasmanian Devils for a period of up to 30 years.
“This program will contribute to the long-term survival of the Tasmanian Devil by providing a world-class breeding facility to house a healthy insurance population of this wonderful Australian animal.
“The local MP George Souris and I would like to take this opportunity to commend the dedicated staff at Devil Ark for their great work in helping to keep this Australian icon alive. As members of the NSW Government we are very proud to support such great work,” Ms Parker said.