Tasmanian devils have long been circulating in the media for their demise at the hands of a contagious mouth cancer that pushed the species to near extinction. Now, a new project has taken its first step in rewilding disease-free, captive animals in the hope that they could again thrive on Australia’s mainland, something they haven't done for 3,000 years.
The project is a collaboration between Aussie Ark, Global Wildlife Conservation, and Wild Ark and has placed 30 healthy Tasmanian devils in a protected area in the Barrington Tops, just north of Sydney. Free to roam 5.2 square kilometers (2 square miles), the animals are sheltered from predators but otherwise returning to a naturalistic setting. Each of the individuals is fitted with tracking devices so that researchers can monitor their progress and gain an insight as to how the species might behave and influence their environment if released into a wild habitat.