Forestier Peninsula Release - Update 29 February 2016
In late February 2916, ten juvenile animals were released onto the Bangor property on Forestier Peninsula, joining the older Tasmanian devils released in the area last November.
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Team Leader Dr Sam Fox said the juvenile animals were ‘soft released’ into portable pens on the property for about two weeks. “This enabled them to smell, see and hear their new environment,” Sam said.
The STDP opened the gate to the pen in late February, enabling the young devils to leave the pen when they were ready.
As of Monday 29 February, two of the juvenile devils have died from being hit by a motor vehicle. Both animals were roadkilled near Murdunna on the Arthur Highway.
The deaths of translocated devils have highlighted the roadkill issue in Tasmania and the STDP is continuing to warn motorists to slow down between dawn and dusk.
In a bid to reduce Forestier roadkill, ‘virtual fencing’ has been installed on a roadkill hotspot on the Arthur Highway. The 1.7km stretch of virtual fence is made up of electronic alarm units placed on roadside posts. The alarms scare wildlife away from roads by emitting beeps and lights as a car approaches. The Austrian-made fencing is also being installed in other areas of the state by stakeholders and industry supporters of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.
Historical records show that Forestier Peninsula has supported around 250 devils at any one time so there is plenty of room, water and food for a reasonable relocated population.
There will be more monitoring undertaken in March to check on the juvenile devils’ progress.
The Program is extending its Wild Devil Recovery Project to Stony Head in the central north of the state later in 2016.
Both soft and hard releases of 32 captive and wild-born devils will be trialed to gauge the rate of success of the two release methods.
Sam said it was intended that the devils be collared with a satellite GPS to provide information about welfare, dispersal distance, survival rate, breeding and new range.