The Tasmanian devil hasn’t been seen on mainland Australia for 3,000 years, but conservation efforts have been made to reintroduce 26 specimens of the endangered animal.
“We’ve worked for over a decade to [bring the Tasmanian devil back],” says Tim Faulkner, president of AussieArk, a species recovery organization, because the marsupial scavenger plays a key role in maintaining a balanced, healthy ecosystem. “I really believe that over time, we’ll see the devil become a normal part of mainland Australia. It was here 3,000 years ago. You know, that’s an ecological blink of an eye.”
In preparation for the animals’ release, Faulkner’s team fenced off a vast portion of a protected eucalyptus forest by removing leaves, invasive plants, and red foxes and feral cats. Fifteen devils have been released in March of this year and another 11 in September. If those 26 devils thrive, an additional 40 will be released over the next two years.