Maria Island Update
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program staff are currently hard at work on Maria Island where Tasmanian devil populations have been thriving for more than three and a half years. The introduction of the devil to the island environment in late 2012 and 2013 has been very successful, with good survival of founders from both releases, and good breeding success achieved over a number of generations.
Program staff regularly monitor and trap the animals on Maria Island as part of their ongoing management of the devil population. This includes close observation of the potential for devils to impact on other species and ecological processes on the island.
Given the success of the wild-born devil numbers over the past few years, staff have also been actively considering options for managing the population, including genetic supplementation and the removal of animals.
The last option is coming to fruition during this latest trip, with the team trapping and removing wild born devils from the island to take to Free Range Enclosures (FREs) on the Freycinet Peninsula and at Tasmanian Zoo on the Tasmanian mainland.
To achieve this, 46 traps have been set and a team of eight people, including vets, two trapping teams and senior STDP staff are on Maria with the aim of catching 16 animals for translocation. The chosen devils will be held in five temporary pens on the island, where they will be monitored and health-checked. Some are being flown to their new homes while others are being transported by boat and vehicle.
STDP thanks Parks and Widllife staff and volunteers for their assistance in helping to make this mammoth and essential task a reality.
Photo: Devils leave Maria Island for the Flacks Rd Free Range Enclosure (Freycinet)