Actor Chris Hemsworth and his wife, actress Elsa Pataky, have been getting into the conservation effort. Recently, the pair helped release 11 Tasmanian devils into a wildlife sanctuary in mainland Australia which is almost 1,000 acres. As shared by Global Wildlife Conservation this was a big deal given that a Tasmanian devil has not been in the Australian mainland in 3,000 years.
The couple, along with the conservationists, released the Tasmanian devils in an effort repopulate the Australian wilderness which has the world’s worst mammal extinction rate. The conservation project was started more than 10 years ago after Global Wildlife Conservation and WildArk partnered with Aussie Ark.
In a statement released by Aussie Ark, they noted the importance that future generations will hopefully gain from the “ecological restoration” which was set into play with this release of Tasmanian devils. The statement further added that “Not only does the reintroduction bode well for the recovery of the Tasmanian devil, but as native apex predators and the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials, they help control feral cats and foxes that threaten other endangered and endemic species. As scavengers, they help keep their home clean and free of disease. Their return to the wild therefore establishes the foundation for an ambitious vision to rewild Australia.”
The statement further shared that the hard work of conservationists to reintroduce the Tasmanian devils will hopefully see a surge in the animal’s population in the eastern forests of Australia, which was once their natural habitat 3,000 years ago.
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The Tasmanian devil first encountered a decline in their population because of the dingo’s introduction to the mainland. From there, it was a steady decline. And even today, on the island of Tasmania where the majority of Tasmanian devils reside, they are facing struggles from a contagious cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease.
Desperately needing a population boost, the Aussie Ark’s breeding program carefully selected the participating Tasmanian devils. The repopulation program now has 26 Tasmanian devils – 11 of them are the ones who were released into the sanctuary by Hemsworth and his wife. The Barrington Tops wildlife sanctuary’s location was specifically selected and built away from poisonous plants, human interference, cars, and other possible problems in order to give the Tasmanian devils their best chance to grow their numbers.
The president of Global Wildlife Conservation, Don Church, stated, “Without Aussie Ark’s incredible work and perseverance over all of these years, the recent devil reintroduction would not have been possible and instead of looking forward to the recovery of the species, we would be watching the devil slip into extinction. This is an incredible example of how to rewild our planet, bringing back the natural systems to the benefit of all life on Earth.”
This conservation move isn’t just good for the Tasmanian devil, who have been placed on the IUCN Red List as endangered, but it will also help to the surrounding ecological systems as well, Global Wildlife Conservation shared. Besides the Tasmanian devil, Aussie Ark is also looking at doing the same for several other species such as the eastern quoll, brush-tail rock wallabies, rufous bettong, long-nosed potoroo, parma wallabies, and southern brown bandicoots. Conservationists are hoping their numbers will flourish and will eventually help strengthen the local ecosystem.
It is planned to have an additional 40 Tasmanian devils introduced to the sanctuary in the coming two years. All the animals introduced will be closely monitored through regular surveys, radio transmitter collars, and camera traps. Aussie Ark wants to keep up with the animals in order to make sure they are breeding, as well as make sure that they’re not lacking anything.
This conservation movement is coming at a very crucial time as well since many conservationists are looking to repair the massive damage don’t by the Australian bushfires earlier this year, which devastated more than 72,000 square miles of forest, killed at least 34 people, and wiped out nearly 3 billion animals.
As Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie’s Ark, pointed out according to PEOPLE, this conservation effort has not been deterred by the devastating fires, but instead their resolve to make a difference has been strengthened by the earlier wildfires. Faulkner said that they want to “put an end to extinction and to rewild Australia.”
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