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Extinction Countdown

A Wild Idea: Save Tasmanian Devils While Controlling Killer Cats

tasmanian devils

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) disappeared from mainland Australia centuries ago, probably not long after humans first brought dingoes to the continent. A new plan could bring the infamous, snarling predators back from the island of Tasmania to Oz. That would not only benefit the devils, which are dying out due to a communicable cancer, but [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

When I last wrote about Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) this past December, the species was in pretty dire straits. A contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) had, at that point, wiped out at least 70 percent of devils in the wild, forcing scientists to resort to captive breeding, a sperm bank and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Platypus Populations on Small Australian Islands Show Lack of Genetic Diversity, High Risk of Disease

Last year we learned that climate change could soon make Australia too hot for the cold-loving, iconic platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Now we have word of a new threat to these unique, egg-laying mammals: inbreeding, which has put the platypuses living on two small Australian islands at enhanced risk of disease. According to research published March [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sperm Bank and Reproductive Research Could Help Save Tasmanian Devils from Extinction

Tasmanian devil

A diseased and emaciated Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was found last week on a golf course in the town of Zeehan on Tasmania’s west coast. Like many of its kind, the animal suffered from the deadly, transmittable cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which has wiped out at least 70 percent and possibly [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Has an infectious cancer doomed Tasmanian devils to extinction?

Tasmanian Devil Facial Cancer

Are Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) doomed to extinction in the wild? The infectious cancer known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) has killed off as much as 90 percent of the world’s Tasmanian devils since it was first observed in 1996 (up from 70 percent when we last wrote about the species nine months ago). [...]

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