Tassie devils thrive in NSW on their own

·2-min read

The nearly extinct population of Tasmanian devils is making a comeback, with the birth of nine babies in NSW for the second consecutive year.

Australia remains the country with the world's worst mammal extinction rate, but a program started two years ago to "rewild" the beloved carnivores is helping change that trend.

Tasmanian devils vanished entirely from mainland Australia in large part because of introduced dingoes, which hunt in packs.

They have also had to endure the devil facial tumour disease, the only known contagious cancer, which decimated up to 90 per cent of the wild population of Tasmanian devils.

Two years ago, 28 Tasmanian devils were released into the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, officially listed as a World Heritage Area since 1986, which marked the start of the DevilComeback campaign.

"Nothing beats peeking into the mother's pouch and seeing that tiny pink joey," Aussie Ark curator Kelly Davis said.

Aussie Ark's Tasmanian devil breeding program says it has become the most successful conservation breeding facility for the endangered species on mainland Australia, with a total of 56 Tasmanian devil joeys born so far this year.

"It's even more special out here in the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, where we know they are living completely wild, without human intervention," Ms Davis said.

Successful breeding of Tasmanian devils in the wild was confirmed last year for the first time in 3000 years.

The program started with 44 devils and is now home to more than 200, making up about half of the entire mainland insurance population.

More than 400 devils have been born and raised at Aussie Ark in a way that encourages and fosters natural behaviour in the animals.

The conservation group will continue pouch checks over the coming weeks and is expecting to confirm upwards of 19 joeys.

The team will monitor the pregnancies through motion-sensor cameras and expects to see baby devils roaming the sanctuary six months later.

Only 25,000 devils remain in the wilds in Tasmania.

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