Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare infectious cancer that is spreading through wild Tasmanian devil populations. The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have become partners in an initiative, known as the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, with the mandate to investigate the disease and identify management options.
The core activity of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and is overseen by a Steering Committee. The Program is co-ordinated by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). It focuses on on-ground management activity as well as applied research. The department also facilitates and supports research and contributions by other organisations, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Tasmania, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, Murdoch University, Landcare Research (New Zealand), and wildlife parks and zoos.
The Tasmanian devil has been listed as Endangered by the Federal and State governments, as well as the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected. Find out more...
Key areas of focus
The Program's aim is to see the Tasmanian devil again thriving in the wild. Our strategy encompasses a range of approaches to provide the species with the best chance of survival. There are four key areas of focus for the program.
- Population monitoring - Gathering data in the field to clarify disease distribution and impacts, and to help determine conservation strategies.
- Disease diagnostics - A laboratory-based investigation of the disease itself, which includes defining the disease, exploring its transmission, the possible causes, and so on. We eagerly anticipate the development of an effective pre-diagnostic test that can be used in the field to detect diseased animals before they become infectious.
- Wild management - Establishing methods for managing the impact of the disease in the wild.
- Insurance Population - To build and maintain an Insurance Population of healthy and genetically robust devils for the next 50 years. These animals may be reintroduced to the wild as necessary.
See the Program's latest Annual Report and Business Plan for further information on the Program's current focus and activities.
Find out how you can help the Program.
|Work has commenced on the construction of a quarantine facility at the Cressy Intensive Management Facility for Tasmanian Devils. The new biosecure quarantine area comprises 14 animal pens able to house devils of an unknown health status without impacting on the healthy captive population in the existing facility, from which it will operate independently. read more...|
Last modified: 23/07/2015
|The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s Peninsula Devil Conservation Project (previously known as the Tasman Isolation Project) is working to secure a DFTD-free population of devils on the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas in south-east Tasmania. read more...|
Last modified: 29/07/2015
|In 2014 the Meta-population Advisory Committee (MAC) endorsed the use of contraceptive implants as a form of population control in female Tasmanian devils. The project is continuing in 2015 with the aim of assessing the effectiveness of contraception implants in female Tasmanian devils in Free Range Enclosures (FREs) and on Maria Island. read more...|
Last modified: 22/07/2015
|The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) has just published its Annual Program Report, which outlines how, with guidance from national and international specialists and support from funding partners, the Program is working towards the vision of an enduring and ecologically functional population of devils in the wild in Tasmania. read more...|
Last modified: 16/07/2015
|The Roadkill Project is about harnessing the support of the community to help us protect and monitor wild devil populations. read more...|
Last modified: 29/07/2015
|Now in its third five year phase, the focus of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has shifted from ensuring the species survival in captivity to recovery in the wild, and an exciting announcement made about research into a vaccine has brought this closer to reality. read more...|
Last modified: 25/06/2015
|The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) is now commencing its third stage, coinciding with a five year business planning cycle, and has outlined the goals and targets for the coming five years in its latest Business Plan 2014-19. A major emphasis during this period, beyond maintaining the Insurance Population, will be on wild devil management and the implementation of the recovery plan. Key steps will be to determine the status and trends of wild devil populations and to develop techniques for managing diseased populations. By the end of this period, the Program plans to be managing diseased populations in the wild in Tasmania. read more...|
Last modified: 13/02/2015
|An evaluation by the Federal government of the performance of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) against the goals set out in the STDP Business Plan 2008-13, was undertaken in early 2013. The aims were to evaluate the impacts and achievements of the Program, and identify potential legacy contributions to the longer term Program goals. Copies of the final report and the Program's response to its recommendations are provided here. read more...|
Last modified: 06/01/2015
|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 modified: 05/01/2015
|While the threat to the Tasmanian devil due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) continues to spread through wild populations in Tasmania, significant advances in the Insurance Population and protecting isolated devil populations, are enabling the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to commence a new phase in the species' conservation - focussing on recovery in the wild. read more...|
Last modified: 26/11/2014