Tasmanian devil wild release monitoring update - January 2016
With mating on their agendas, translocated devils were not particularly interested in visiting the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s traps during January monitoring.
Infrared cameras at monitoring sites picked up plenty of activity but the traps were activated by just three devils at Narawntapu National Park and eight on Forestier Peninsula.
The relatively low number of trapped devils is not a surprise. The cameras showed that some devils were very wary of the traps and did not venture in. At this time of year female devils come into oestrus and adults are focused on mating.
The three males trapped at Narawntapu are known to have remained in the park while the others (13) are likely to have dispersed into other suitable habitat bordering the national park. The trapped males have all retained their release weight and are surviving without supplementary feeding. There is plenty of devil food in the area. One Narawntapu male has received veterinary treatment at DPIPWE’s Mt Pleasant laboratories. He was picked up with a wounded rump during December monitoring. He has recovered well and will be re-released soon.
The Forestier animals are thriving on a diet of local, wild delicacies as well as limited supplementary feeding. While some have stayed close to the release site, others have roamed further afield.
As at the end of January, the population of translocated devils on Forestier stands at 27. There were 12 roadkill deaths, the most recent occurring on Christmas Day.
Deaths of devils translocated to Narawntapu stands at four with no roadkill fatalities in 2016. There have been no further deaths since the last round of monitoring.
The statewide total of 16 deaths of translocated devils contributed to a total of 361 known devil deaths on Tasmanian roads in 2015.
The total is almost certainly higher because some roadkill deaths will not have been reported.