It’s been 3,000 years since researchers think the Tasmanian Devil disappeared off. Now, seven joeys have been born in the wild, putting an end to that long streak.
Aussie Ark, a nonprofit aimed at preserving the Tasmanian Devil population, posted the news to Instagram on Tuesday, saying the babies were born at the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in New South Wales. Aussie Ark worked in partnership with other groups including, Re:wild and WildArk.
“We have been working tirelessly for the better part of 10 years to return devils to the wild of mainland Australia with the hope that they would establish a sustainable population,” said Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark in a statement on Re:wild’s website.
Re:wild also explained that Aussie Ark had released 26 adults in 2020, seven of which were female. Tasmanian Devils are.
The animals disappeared off mainland Australia because they were outcompeted by dingoes. Although Tasmanian Devils remained on the island of Tasmania, they were hit with a contagious cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease, which killed up to 90% of the wild population. Only about 25,000 remain on Tasmania.
Aussie Ark expects a total of about 20 joeys this year and also plans on releasing 40 more devils in the next two years.