donate link to home page link to home page about the disease Save the Tasmanian devil. Devil Facial Tumouir Disease threatens the existence of this internationally-recognised icon. In some areas more than 90% of the Tasmanian devil population has been wiped out.

The Program

This Page/Phil Wise Oct 2009.jpgDevil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare infectious cancer that is spreading through wild Tasmanian devil populations. The Tasmanian devil has been listed as Endangered by the Federal and State governments, as well as the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected. Find out more...

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) was established in 2003 following concern for the decline of the Tasmanian devil due to DFTD. The core activity of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and is overseen by a Steering Committee. The Program is co-ordinated by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

The program is now in its third, five year plan or stage. Each stage of the STDP has had a distinct purpose and has led to significant developments that have allowed the conservation activities for the Tasmanian devil to advance.

Stage 1

The first stage of the STDP was aimed at characterising the emerging disease and its impacts on the Tasmanian devil and developing effective disease mitigation strategies (see Disease Diagnostics). During this stage, the program successfully identified the highly unusual nature of the disease and the means of its transmission. In addition major advances were made with mapping the distribution of the disease, understanding aspects of the impact on demography and breeding patters

Stage 2

The second five year stage was established with a significant commitment from the Tasmanian and Australian Governments. The aim of this stage was to establish an Insurance Population to secure the species from extinction, monitor the impact of the disease in the wild and develop an array of facilities for holding the species in wild and semi-wild populations.  At the completion of the second stage in 2013, the STDP had established an effective insurance population and a successful island translocation The distribution of the disease was tracked and annual monitoring to establish the status and trends of the devil population was commenced. The range of partnerships maintaining the STDP had developed considerably with the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and ZAA member institutions being critical to success.

Stage 3

Now in the third five year stage of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, our major aim is to develop the Wild Devil Recovery Program in addition to maintain the insurance population, establish significant disease free populations in the wild in Tasmania, determine the status and trends of the wild population and develop techniques for managing diseased populations. We anticipate that by the completion of this stage we will have started to manage diseased populations in the wild in Tasmania.

Over the next few years we will significantly improve the prospects for sustainable and ecologically functional populations in the wild in Tasmania both through the establishment of disease-free populations and through the management and augmentation of diseased populations

Key areas of focus

The strategic plan for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is the draft recovery plan for the Tasmanian devil (DPIPWE in progress).

The Program has a number of key objectives, including to:

  • Maintain a Tasmanian devil population in the wild through managing the impact of devil facial tumour disease and minimising the impact of other threats,
  • Maintain the current genetic diversity of the Tasmanian devil,
  • Establish a sustainable disease-free insurance population for possible future release into the wild.
  • Manage the ecological impacts of a reduced Tasmanian devil population over its natural range.

See the Program's latest Annual Report and Business Plan for further information on the Program's current focus and activities.

Find out how you can help the Program.

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Wild Devil Recovery

While the threat to the Tasmanian devil due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) continues to spread through wild populations in Tasmania, significant advances in the Insurance Population and protecting isolated devil populations, are enabling the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to commence a new phase in the species' conservation - focussing on recovery in the wild. read more...
Last published: 25/11/2015

Roadkill Project

The Roadkill Project is about harnessing the support of the community to help us protect and monitor wild devil populations. read more...
Last published: 04/11/2015


Publications related to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. read more...
Last published: 04/11/2015

Disease diagnostics

Our scientists have collected and analysed blood, tissue and tumour samples from hundreds of Tasmanian devils, allowing a growing understanding of the nature and origin of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). read more...
Last published: 23/09/2015

Cressy Quarantine Facility

Work has commenced on the construction of a quarantine facility at the Cressy Intensive Management Facility for Tasmanian Devils. The new biosecure quarantine area comprises 14 animal pens able to house devils of an unknown health status without impacting on the healthy captive population in the existing facility, from which it will operate independently. read more...
Last published: 23/07/2015

Peninsula Devil Conservation Project

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s Peninsula Devil Conservation Project (previously known as the Tasman Isolation Project) is working to secure a DFTD-free population of devils on the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas in south-east Tasmania. read more...
Last published: 23/07/2015

Contraception project update

In 2014 the Meta-population Advisory Committee (MAC) endorsed the use of contraceptive implants as a form of population control in female Tasmanian devils. The project is continuing in 2015 with the aim of assessing the effectiveness of contraception implants in female Tasmanian devils in Free Range Enclosures (FREs) and on Maria Island. read more...
Last published: 22/07/2015

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Annual Report 2013-2014 released

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) has just published its Annual Program Report, which outlines how, with guidance from national and international specialists and support from funding partners, the Program is working towards the vision of an enduring and ecologically functional population of devils in the wild in Tasmania. read more...
Last published: 15/07/2015

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program moves closer to immunised devil trial

Now in its third five year phase, the focus of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has shifted from ensuring the species survival in captivity to recovery in the wild, and an exciting announcement made about research into a vaccine has brought this closer to reality. read more...
Last published: 25/02/2015

The Devil Program’s next five year Business Plan released

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) is now commencing its third stage, coinciding with a five year business planning cycle, and has outlined the goals and targets for the coming five years in its latest Business Plan 2014-19. A major emphasis during this period, beyond maintaining the Insurance Population, will be on wild devil management and the implementation of the recovery plan. Key steps will be to determine the status and trends of wild devil populations and to develop techniques for managing diseased populations. By the end of this period, the Program plans to be managing diseased populations in the wild in Tasmania. read more...
Last published: 13/02/2015
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