Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cancer-free Tasmanian Devils returned to homeland Cancer-free Tasmanian Devils returned to homeland in a bid to save species from extinction

By Telegraph Video, and Reuters

7:10PM GMT 19 Nov 2015

The largest group so far of disease-free Tasmanian devils has been released in the wild, as part of plans to save the carnivorous marsupials from a cancer threatening them with extinction.

A group of 22 of the creatures, made famous by their namesake Warner Bros cartoon character, was flown to the island state of Tasmania from a captive breeding facility near Sydney and released in native bushland.

The Tasmanian devil population has plummeted to around 10,000 from an estimated 250,000 before 1996, when Devil Facial Tumor Disease was first discovered. The disease causes large lumps to form around the animal's mouth and head, making it hard for it to eat.

"Tasmanian Devils in the wild have been absolutely decimated by this disease," Mike Drinkwater, operations manager at the Devil Ark recovery programme told Reuters. "It's a very, very nasty disease. After three months we see symptoms, after six months those devils are gone."

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