More than 3,000 years since they died off there, Tasmanian devils have been reintroduced to the Australian mainland.
The organization Aussie Ark has released 11 Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) at a wildlife sanctuary north of Sydney. Previously, they introduced 15 of them as part of a trial.
“In 100 years, we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country,” said Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark in a statement.
“Not only is this the reintroduction of one of Australia’s beloved animals, but of an animal that will engineer the entire environment around it, restoring and rebalancing our forest ecology after centuries of devastation from introduced foxes and cats and other invasive predators.”
The arrival of dingos (Canis lupus dingo) in Australia drove the marsupial predators to extinction on the continent, restricting them to the island of Tasmania, where they face threats from Devil Facial Tumor Disease. Only about 25,000 Tasmanian devils remain in the wild.
Aussie Ark plans to introduce 20 devils each in two more reintroductions, and will track the animals using radio collars, camera traps and surveys.