Overview | Insurance Population members | Free Range Enclosures (FREs) | Landscape Isolation and Island Translocations | Insurance Population news |
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program began to establish an Insurance Population of Tasmanian devils in 2005, gathering animals from areas of the State where there had not been evidence of DFTD. The Insurance Population is designed to ensure the survival of the species and Insurance Population animals could play an important role, if ever needed, in helping to re-establish healthy wild populations in Tasmania.
The Insurance Population concept and parameters grew out of an international workshop held in Hobart in July 2008. Read more
On advice from the Captive Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) and the Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has determined that it needs an effective Insurance Population of around 500 breeding devils to maintain the genetic diversity and behavioural integrity of the species over a period of 50 years. This target number is only required in the event that no disease free Tasmanian devils are available to supplement the Insurance Population. This may mean having as many as 1,500 devils being intensively managed in captivity - a massive task.
Tasmanian devils in the Insurance Population were initially isolated and housed in purpose-built quarantine enclosures before being sent to wildlife institutions in mainland Australia approved by the Zoo and Aquarium Association. The decision to remove Tasmanian devils to the mainland of Australia was based on the need to ensure that we had a healthy population of devils that was at absolutely no risk of infection from diseased wild devils. As it became clear that DFTD was not airborne, and therefore the risk of infection to captive populations was much lower than first thought, the Program instituted a locally-based Insurance Population that is housed at facilities in Tasmania.
Insurance Population members
The Program's Insurance Population currently comprises:
Zoos and Wildlife Parks in Australia:
Zoos and Wildlife Parks Overseas:
Free Range Enclosures (FREs)
Free Range Enclosures (FREs) are one of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program's favoured options for an economically and behaviourally sustainable alternative to intensive management. The devils housed in the FREs are a benefit to the Insurance Population because they tend to retain wild behaviours because of their less intensive management. There was very little known about managing Tasmanian devils in this way so the Program's experts began working through issues relating to the size of the enclosures, den construction, food sources and the numbers and sex ratio of animals to house for the best outcome. The first of the Devil Island FREs was constructed on land donated by the Devil Island Project in 2008. In partnership with Devil Island Project, the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program constructed two new FREs in 2010 and a third in 2012.
Landscape Isolation and Island Translocations
The Program is exploring options and implementing projects to isolate and protect populations of healthy devils within the landscape. The first translocation of a population of Tasmanian devils to Maria Island, an off-shore island on Tasmania's East Coast, took place in November 2012. Maria Island was chosen as the first island translocation for a number of reasons, including its large area, the fact that the habitat appears to be suitable for Tasmanian devils and that it is solely managed by the State Government.
The Program is also looking at the feasibility of ‘virtual islands' - fencing off peninsulas or other geographically suitable areas of land in Tasmania. A feasibility study has been undertaken to isolate a healthy population of Tasmanian devils in the State's far North West and projects are underway to establish healthy populations on the Tasman, Forestier and Freycinet Peninsulas. These geographical landscapes lend themselves for use as virtual islands for the protection of healthy populations or for the reintroduction of healthy animals to areas that have been decimated by Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
Insurance Population News
|The establishment phase of the Maria Island Devil Translocation Project has been successfully completed with 28 devils released over two years and evidence that the introduced population has bred successfully over the 2013 and 2014 breeding seasons. The focus is now on monitoring the devils, along with the potential impacts of the expanding population on other native species and the Island's ecology. read more...|
Last published: 02/09/2015
|Recently authors Carolyn Hogg, Jamie A. Ivy, Carla Srb, Jocelyn Hockley, Caroline Lees, Chris Hibbard and Menna Jones undertook an analysis of the Insurance Population (IP) of Tasmanian devils. A report of the results has just been published. read more...|
Last published: 24/07/2015
|A pilot program which will see Tasmanian devils placed in select overseas zoos was announced by the Minister for Parks, Environment and Heritage, Brian Wightman on Sunday 23 June. The 'Ambassador Devils' initiative will raise awareness of the plight of Tasmanian devils (caused by the Devil Facial Tumour Disease) on a world stage and contribute directly to conservation of the endangered species in Tasmania.
Last published: 24/06/2013
|Four captive bred Tasmanian devils from Trowunna Wildlife Park were transported yesterday to Denmark to take up residence in the Copenhagen Zoo. The devils were accompanied on the flight from Australia to Denmark by Flemming Nielsen, Curator at the Copenhagen Zoo. It is hoped the two female and two male devils eventually will produce offspring. read more...|
Last published: 12/10/2012
|An experimental road grid was designed to prevent the movement of healthy devils from protected areas. Video surveillance shows that although the grid was effective in over a third of the cases, devils are very determined to go where they want to go. read more...|
Last published: 25/07/2012
|Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) recently donated 17 tons of used conveyor belt rubber to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) for use in its Cressy captive devil breeding enclosure. read more...|
Last published: 25/07/2012
|A toy developed for dogs has become the latest plaything for devils, providing an important ‘enrichment’ tool for animals held in the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program captive management centre in Hobart. read more...|
Last published: 10/07/2012
|The Tasmanian devils at Trowunna Wildlife Park have been incorporated into the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s Insurance Population.
Last published: 19/08/2011
|The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program hosted a visit by members of the Devil Islands Projects Board. read more...|
Last published: 08/07/2011
|Construction work to upgrade the animal husbandry infrastructure at the ‘Devils @ Cradle’ Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary will begin in July 2011. read more...|
Last published: 04/07/2011