Overview of threats to Tasmanian devils other than DFTD
The key threat to the survival of Tasmanian devils in the wild is Devil Facial
Tumour Disease (DFTD). Managing other threats to the survival of Tasmanian
devils is, however, also an important part of the Program's mandate.
Possible other threats may include:
Low genetic diversity
Introduced predators: foxes, cats and dogs
Habitat loss and fragmentation
So far there are only assumptions about what poses a threat and how critical it
may be. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is working to establish the facts
by expanding our understanding of the extent and impact of possible threats to
low density devil populations.
Find out more about
other threats to Tasmanian devils.
The threats facing the survival of the Tasmanian devil in the wild have wide
implications for the Tasmanian landscape. To better understand these impacts
and to help guide informed management decisions, the Save the Tasmanian Devil
Program has established the Ecological Impacts Unit. Like the Program
itself, this unit covers a wide range of disciplines and supporting
institutions. Several current PhD projects supported by the Program are
specifically designed to answer fundamental questions such as changes in
landscape ecology with respect to emergence of DFTD and impacts on other native
meso-predators and small mammals.
Tasmanian devils are thought to be less susceptible to the threat of habitat
loss than many marsupial carnivores because they are highly mobile and can
happily exist in a variety of vegetations.
In some areas, however, there aren't many sites suitable for denning. If dens
were destroyed in these areas, it could have a significant effect on devil
numbers. This would be particularly concerning in areas where the devil
population is already reduced and females are producing only one litter in a
The habitat requirements of Tasmanian devils include:
Places to hide and shelter during the day, such as dense
vegetation, hollow logs, burrows or caves;
Areas with open understorey mixed with dense patches to allow
Soil suitable for burrowing for maternal dens.
For devils, the combination of these features within the habitat is more
important than any particular vegetation community or habitat type.
Most of Tasmania is suitable devil habitat - native bush, forestry plantations
and pasture. Preferred habitats include coastal scrub or heathland, sclerophyll
forest, and mixed patches of grazing land and open forest or woodland.
Since European settlement, devil habitat has been lost through clearing for
agriculture, forest plantations, extractive industries and residential
development, especially in eastern Tasmania. The level, and type, of effect
clearing has on devils depends on whether patches of bush are left, and the
type of land use.
The introduction into Tasmania of the red fox, is of serious concern to the Save the
Tasmanian Devil Program. Foxes compete directly with Tasmanian devil juveniles.
Both species share preferences for den sites and habitat, and are of similar
size. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program works with the Fox
Eradication Program to monitor the possible impact of a growing fox
population on Tasmanian devils.
An estimated 2000 Tasmanian devils are killed on our roads each year. The
Roadkill Project is collecting information to find out how significant roadkill
is to the survival of devil populations depleted by Devil Facial Tumour
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is the Program's official fundraising entity. The University of Tasmania Foundation administers all funding associated with the Appeal.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia. ABN: ABN 73 744 631 571. Find out how to support the Appeal.