The Tasmanian devil is the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and a national treasure. But it’s on the brink of extinction. Since the late 1990s we have lost 85% of the Tasmanian devil population to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
We are on a mission to save the devil from this devastating disease. Since 2007 the University of Sydney has been leading research into the genetics of the devil. In May this year, we made a discovery that could change everything.
Recently one of our collaborators was hiking in the remote and rugged UNESCO World Heritage site in south-western Tasmania. This region has no road access and is only accessible by foot, boat or by helicopter. Upon discovering devil scat she picked it up and posted it to us at the University of Sydney lab. PhD student Rebecca Gooley is on a mission to be the first person ever to genotype devils from this region. Her work has led to the discovery of a new genetic variation which will enable us to increase the genetic diversity of our insurance population and help devil populations across Tasmania.
With your support, we can send more researchers into the region and be one step closer to saving this incredible creature.
With your help, we can:
- Fund more trips to the south west of Tasmania to collect samples - we will need to hire a helicopter to do this.
- Discover how genetically diverse the population of Tasmanian devils in the south-western region of Tasmania is.
- Bring genetically diverse individuals into the insurance metapopulation in collaboration with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and the Zoo and Aquarium Association.
- Design a management program for devils to increase their genetic variation, with the hope of ultimately producing more resilient animals.
How you can help
Donations both large and small mean so much to us, and allow us to give Tasmanian devils the best chance for a future.
If you are not in a position to give, please share our project with your friends and family through social media and your networks.