Tasmanian Devils

The presence of Tasmanian Devils on the Australian mainland is an interesting one. They were known to exist from fossil records and are believed to have died out centuries ago. However, there have been at least six cases of the animals being found as roadkill in Victoria, the latest in March 2009. Most of these animals have been found in Gippsland but there is also a report from Benalla. Interestingly two were found on the one weekend back in the 1990s. The obvious question is, are these genuine roadkills or has someone picked up roadkill from Tasmania and brought it back to Victoria as a practical joke? Other suggestions are that they have been released on the mainland, escaped from fauna parks or perhaps are part of a remnant mainland population which I consider fairly unlikely.

The latest roadkill involved a male devil which apparently escaped from a fauna park and was killed by a vehicle near Wonthaggi in South Gippsland.  How many other Tasmanian Devils have escaped and have been able to set up breeding colonies on the mainland?

Interestingly, there has been a bit of talk of late in scientific circles suggesting that Tasmanian Devils could be released on Wilson's Promotory to establish a free-range breeding colony not affected by the facial tumor disease which is decimating the native population in Tasmania. The idea is that the devils would help to keep the feral cat population in check by gobbling up young kittens before they can fend for themselves and scamper up trees for safety.

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