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.
The Devil Program was established in 2003 following concern for the decline of the Tasmanian devil due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The first stage of the Program was aimed at characterising the emerging disease and its impacts on the Tasmanian devil and developing effective disease mitigation strategies. During this stage, we successfully identified the highly unusual nature of the disease and the means of its transmission.
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, we had established an effective Insurance Population, a successful island translocation and assets that enable the successful release of animals into the wild. The range of partnerships maintaining the Program had developed considerably with the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and ZAA member institutions being critical to success.
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. Our emphasis in this third stage of the Program is towards recovery in the wild, with the establishment of disease free populations and through the management and augmentation of diseased populations in the wild in Tasmania.