Australia lists Tasmanian devils as endangered

Tasmanian devils, whose numbers have dropped significantly since the appearance of a contagious cancer more than a decade ago, have been listed as endangered in Australia.

CANBERRA, Australia - The Tasmanian devil, a snarling fox-sized marsupial made notorious by its Looney Tunes cartoon namesake Taz, was listed in Australia as an endangered species Friday because of a contagious cancer that has wiped out most of the wild population.

The upgrade from "vulnerable" under Australian environmental law entitles the world's largest marsupial carnivore to greater protection in the island state of Tasmania, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said in a statement.


Devils do not exist in the wild outside Tasmania, although mainland zoos are breeding captive populations as a strategy against total extinction.

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