Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)
Kaieteur News – The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae. It was once native to mainland Australia and in modern times was only found in the wild on the island province of Tasmania. It has now been reintroduced to New South Wales with a small breeding population. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_devil – cite_note-: 0-3 A Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, following the extinction of thlacine in 1936. He is associated with quolls, and remotely related to the thlacin. It is characterized by its stocky and muscular construction, black fur, pungent odor, loud and very annoyed scream, a keen sense of smell, and ferocity in feeding. Tasmania’s great devil’s head and neck allow it to produce among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant predatory land mammal. It hunts prey and debris, as well as eating household products, if humans live nearby.
Although usually demons, they sometimes eat and forage together in a communal setting. Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermo regulates effectively, and is active in the middle of the day without overheating. Despite its rotund appearance, it can sense speed and endurance, and can climb trees and swim across rivers. Demons are not monochrome. Males fight against each other for women, and protect their partners to prevent female infidelity. Females can ovulate three times in as many weeks during the mating season, and 80 percent of two-year-old girls are found to be pregnant during the annual mating season.
Females on average have four breeding seasons in their life, and give birth to 20-30 live young after a three-week pregnancy. The newborns are pink, fur-free, have blurred facial features, and weigh approximately 0.20 g (0.0071 oz.) At birth. With only four teats in the bag, competition is fierce, and few newborns survive. The young grow fast, and are thrown out of the bag after about 100 days, weighing about 200 g (7.1 oz.). The young become independent after about nine months.
It is believed that ancient marsupials migrated across Gondwana tens of millions of years ago, and have evolved as Australia became more arid. Fossils of modern demon-like species have been found, but it is not known whether demons descend from or co-exist with these species. It is not clear when Tasmanian demons locally disappeared from mainland Australia; most evidence suggests that they contracted to three relict populations about 3,000 years ago. A tooth found in Augusta, Western Australia, is dated to 430 years ago, but archaeologist Oliver Brown disagrees with this and considers that the devil’s mainland extinction occurred about 3,000 years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_devil – cite_note-Brown2006-4 This disappearance is blamed on climate change, human population increases and the introduction of dingo, and the the last of these being absent from Tasmania.
In 1941, devils were officially protected, and since then, scientists have argued that earlier concerns about the threat to livestock had been overestimated and misplaced. Since the late 1990s, devil’s facial tumor disease (DFTD) has significantly reduced the population and is now threatening the survival of the species, which was declared endangered in 2008. Among the programs run by the Tasmanian Government to reduce the impact the disease is an initiative to build a group of healthy demons in captivity, isolated from the disease. Local populations of demons have also been severely reduced by motor vehicle collisions, especially when they eat road kill.
The devil is an iconic symbol of Tasmania and many organizations, groups and products associated with the state, use the animal in their logos. It is considered an important tourist attraction to Tasmania and has gained worldwide attention through the Looney Tunes character of the same name. Starting in 2013, Tasmanian demons are once again being sent to zoos around the world as part of the Australian government’s Tasmanian Devil Rescue Program.