IUCN Speces of the Day: Tasmanian Devil


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Mike Lehmann


The Tasmanian Devil, Sarcophilus harrisii, is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Although now found only in Tasmania, this iconic animal formerly occupied much of the Australian mainland, but disappeared at least 400 years ago, and possibly as long as several thousand years ago.

Historically, early European settlers considered the Tasmanian Devil a nuisance that killed poultry. As a consequence, it was intensively persecuted for many years through trapping and poisoning until a protective law was passed in 1941 that saw numbers gradually rise again. Today, the greatest threat to this species is the fatal cancer known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Since its discovery, Tasmanian Devil numbers have declined by 60%, and localized declines exceed 90% in places where the disease has been present for the longest time.

Considerable effort is being made at the local, national and international level to reverse the fate of the Tasmanian Devil. At the forefront of this is the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, which aims to monitor the impact of DFTD, develop methods of managing its impact and maintain a disease-free insurance population.


Geographic Range of the Tasmanian Devil

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

To learn more about the Tasmanian Devil, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

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To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.