First Tasmanian devils born in mainland Australia in 3,000 years

Last year, we shared a story about the exciting return of the Tasmanian devil to mainland Australia after an absence of more than 3,000 years. Now, we’re happy to announce that the first new baby devils have been born in the refuge, bringing new hope about the fate of this endangered species.

In October 2020, conservationists introduced 26 Tasmanian devils into a 1,000-acre sanctuary about 200 km (124 miles) north of Sydney. The place is meant to provide the animals with a safe haven from long-time threats like cats and foxes, as well as other dangers such as wildfire, humans, and disease. Aussie Ark, Re: wild, and WildArk — the organizations that set out to start a new healthy population on mainland Australia — reported the birth of seven new devil joeys, all in good health.

“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. “Once they were back in the wild, it was up to them, which was nerve-wracking. We had been watching them from afar until it was time to step in and confirm the birth of our first wild joeys. And what a moment it was!”

The team behind the project will make regular checks on the newborns over the next few weeks, monitoring their mothers with the help of camera traps. According to the conservationists, the births are proof that the program is going according to plan. The organization estimates that 20 more baby devils will be born by the end of this year.

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