Tech & Science Vision of Tasmanian devil waiting for 'friend' shocks researchers

20:51  09 august  2018
20:51  09 august  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae. It was once native to mainland Australia and is now found in the wild only on the island state of Tasmania

Interesting Tasmanian Devil Facts: Tasmanian devils look like dogs of medium size. They can reach 30 inches in length and up to 26 pounds in weight. Body of Tasmanian devil is covered with black fur, with white patches on the chest, shoulders and rump. Tasmanian devil has large head and very

Tasmanian devil footage© Provided by ABC News Tasmanian devil footage

Researchers have been stunned by unusual Tasmanian devil behaviour that has been caught on tape.

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program set up cameras during a recent trapping exercise in the state's south-west.

The vision shows two devils, a male and female, approaching a trap at night, and when the male gets caught in the trap the female begins scratching and pawing it.

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"We [thought], 'Oh, is she trying to get to the food? What's she trying to do?'" Dr David Pemberton, manager of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, said.

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See more of Tasmanian Devil Unzoo on Facebook. It was beautiful to be surrounded by all the kangaroos and feeding them from your hand was simply amazing! Got to see tasmanian devil and feed ing time as well as visiting the birds.

The Australian Devil is a type of Marsupial Friend which debuted on Kemono Friends ' official website. She also made a cameo in Episode 8 - PPP Live of the Kemono Friends anime. Australian Devil 's color palette is monochrome except her gloves and loafers which are brown.

"But then she actually lies down in front of the trap and waits. And she waited for four hours."

The behaviour had never been seen before.

"The fact they arrived together, and that fact that she waited, really implies that they are socialising, travelling together, they know each other, and of course the dogma is that these are solitary animals," Dr Pemberton said.

He said the two animals were possibly hunting together, are siblings, or even mates.

"We also know from the genetics on Maria Island (where a population of devils is being studied) that male and female devils are choosing to breed together over multiple years. In other words, they know each other.

"Considering a devil only lives for six or seven years in the wild, this could imply, through this sort of footage and the genetics, that some of these animals are mating for life."

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Please wait . A Tasmanian Devil named Conrad looking out from inside his enclosure at the San Diego Zoo ( Getty ). Researchers said it was particularly encouraging that they trapped devils ranging from 18 months to five years old.

Our researchers tell us that the Tasmanian Devil ’s large head and neck allow it to generate one of the strongest bites per unit body mass of any Stan Laskey on 22 May 2013 at 11:45 am. Many thanks once again to Carol for sharing her wonderful vision of Tasmania and its native animal population.

Low birth rates spark new fears

The cameras were set up as part of a monitoring trip to check the genetic diversity in Tasmanian devils in the south-west region.

The species has been pushed to the brink by facial tumour disease, which wiped out about 80 per cent of the wild population across the state.

Now the animals are facing another issue.

Low breeding rates and poor genetic diversity are worrying researchers.

"It's definitely a major threat. It could cause local extinctions, those low levels of breeding unless there is dispersal in from another healthy population," Dr Pemberton said.

Devils have a history of poor genetic diversity, but the problem has been exacerbated by the number of devils killed by cancer.

"Once they get fragmented, via facial tumour disease, if that low breeding, low level of babies holds, then we're going to be looking at extinctions again," he said.

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A record 51 Tasmanian Devil joeys were born this season at Devil Ark, a free-range breeding facility aimed at saving this iconic Australian marsupial from extinction. Researchers are working to better understand DFTD, which was only identified in 1996.

Adopt pets from your local animal rescues/shelters, there are plenty of animals just waiting for a home. [–] Kiliki99 475 points476 points477 points 17 days ago (34 children). I too learned everything I know about Tasmanian devils from Looney Tunes.

Low birth rates, however, are also being seen in disease-free populations.

"We know that in the far north-west corner of Tasmania, there's been population decline in the past, without facial tumour disease around," he said.

"Now we're finding in that same population, what we call fecundity — that's the number of babies born every year — has declined dramatically."

He said only 20 per cent or less of female adults were having babies, while they expected 60 to 70 per cent of females to have babies.

It's thought a lack of genetic diversity and inbreeding in the population could be causing the decline.

'It's worth a shot'

The search for answers — and solutions — has brought together a group of researchers from across the country and the world.

University of Sydney geneticist Professor Kathy Belov said researchers felt it was necessary to intervene.

"For a population to survive long-term they need to be genetically robust, there needs to be variation there for them to be able to adjust to changing environments," she said.

"So I guess we really feel that boosting genetic diversity, because we can do that now, is worth a shot."

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Tasmanian devils rapidly evolving to resist contagious cancer, study finds. Read more. University of Tasmania researchers , led by biologist Rodrigo Hamede, have returned to the area every three months since 2006, when the disease first reached the north-west, to catch and test devils for signs

Tasmanian Devil ’s scientific name is Sarcophilus harrisii -it mean Harris’ meat eater. Tasmanian Devils only live in Tasmania an island state of Australia. Tasmanian Devils are mostly black usually have white hair on their chest or back.

Groups of devils originally bred as "insurance populations", in case cancer led to the extinction of wild devils, are now being moved to dwindling populations to boost numbers and bring in new genes.

For the third year, devils have been taken from an insurance population on Maria Island and introduced into the wild.

Among those that made the move recently was two-year-old devil Egmont.

"He's just starting his breeding life, so my hope is that he'll go out to his release site and breed with lots of other females out there and create a new generation of genetically diverse devils," Dr Carolyn Hogg, from the University of Sydney, said.

Dr Pemberton said another tactic may be trialled in the state's north-west.

"We'll wait for genetic results, but we're certainly preparing to possibly bring some of those [wild] animals in, breed them and send them back pregnant," he said.

Despite the hurdles, he remains confident of the devils' survival.

"They breed well, they're tough. They're hanging in there. I think between the devils and the effort we're going to, we should be all right," he said.

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