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.
Find out how you can help the Program.
|Ascertains if there is local extinction in a diseased population; if a population is reacting atypically to disease; and where the current disease front lies. read more...|
|Our scientists have collected and analysed blood, tissue and tumour samples from hundreds of Tasmanian devils, allowing a growing understanding of the nature and origin of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). read more...|
|Disease suppression was first implemented on the Forestier Peninsula in 2004 in an attempt to contain the impact of DFTD. read more...|
|The animals in the Insurance Population could play an important role, if ever needed, in helping to re-establish healthy wild populations of Tasmanian devils. read more...|
|The Roadkill Project is about harnessing the support of the community to help us protect and monitor wild devil populations. read more...|
|Publications related to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. read more...|
|Steering Committee read more...|
|The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman today announced the first overseas zoos to receive Tasmanian devils under a new ambassador devil initiative. read more...|
|A recent pilot study, which investigated the effectiveness of a novel plant molecule with anti-cancer properties has shown some encouraging results for the localised treatment of tumours caused by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The preliminary findings indicate that the molecule known as EBC-46 has potential to slow down the rate of progression of the disease, however further investigation of the efficacy of EBC-46 for the treatment of DFTD is required. read more...|
|A rare feast is in store for Tasmanian devils, which are being held in captivity as an insurance against the species' extinction. They have been given the proceeds of a foiled crime - $2,600 worth of stolen meat. read more...|