Tasmanian devils with large facial tumours were photographed in north-east Tasmania during 1996. A decade later, we know these characteristics are consistent with Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
In September 2006, Devil Facial Tumour Disease was gazetted under the Animal Health Act as a List B notifiable disease.
In May 2009, the Federal Government uplisted the Tasmanian devil to the Endangered category under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Tasmanian devil’s status was formally upgraded to Endangered under Tasmania’s Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, in May 2008.
In late 2008, the Tasmanian devil was also uplisted to Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) – widely considered the most authoritative system for classifying species in terms of their risk of extinction.
The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected.
Populations in which DFTD has been observed for several years have declined by up to 95% according to spotlight surveys (this is approximate, due to low sample size in recent years), with no evidence to date of either of the decline stopping or the prevalence of the disease decreasing.