From: Liz Shaw, , More from this Affiliate
Published October 6, 2011 08:40 AM

In the News: Cull will not save Tasmanian devil

The research, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, modelled the effects of removing infected animals on the prevalence of the disease in small populations. Its findings agreed with trials on wild Tasmanian devils, which showed that selectively culling diseased individuals does not halt the spread of the deadly cancer.


All trial culling of this species has now been stopped.

Deadly cancer

First seen in 1996, the contagious cancer, known as 'Devil Facial Tumour Disease' (DFTD), has had a catastrophic impact on the Tasmanian devil population. Untreatable and highly infectious, it is spread through bites, and causes tumours around the mouth which interfere with feeding and eventually lead to death.

In some areas, the disease has wiped out up to 90% of the Tasmanian devil population.

Also threatened by persecution, road fatalities and competition with the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes), the Tasmanian devil is listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Without drastic conservation measures, this iconic marsupial is predicted to become extinct in the wild within the next 25 years.

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