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Offshore Devils - today
A number of devils exist in locations off the Tasmanian mainland. Depending on the report, there are either 47 or 49 Tasmanian devils in breeding programs on mainland Australia. In addition, a further 4 devils live in Denmark. These are the only living devils outside Australia.
Badger Island, Furneaux Group, Bass Strait, Tasmania
A population of Tasmanian devils was introduced to Badger Island in about 1996. One devil was sighted amongst this population with signs of devil facial tumour disease, although this was not confirmed pathologically (1).
Maria Island, east coast Tasmania
An "insurance population" of nine female devils was introduced to Maria Island on 13 May 2005. Seven came from north east Tasmania, near Narawntapu National Park and the remaining two from the south, near Southport / Hastings (2).
The animals are divided between 4 quarantined areas in case any are found to be incubating the disease. Three males were also captured but are not being kept on the island, to prevent breeding from occuring (2).
Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark
Four devils were gifted to the Prince Christian, son of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark by Trowunna Wildlife Park in October 2005. These are the only devils outside Australia (3).
Approximately 50 Tasmanian devils reside on the Australian mainland today. Most are part of mainland breeding programs which the media has in the past reported as a "Noah's Ark" project.
Offshore devils - historical
Devon, England (1868)
A fascinating account of an escaped devil in Devon, England is found in the South Australian Register, Monday 2 November 1868:
"\THE TASMANIAN DEVIL - We learn from Pulman's Weekly News and Advertiser of August 18 that the Tasmanian devil escaped from Wombwell's Menagerie while exhibiting in the town of Bideford, Devon. The keeper omitted to fasten its door at feeding time, and the devil made a bolt of it. Being closely pursued, the animal plunged into the Torridge [River], was lost in the darkness, and has not been seen since." (p 2).
1. Application Form: Nomination for Listing or Delisting of a Taxon of Flora or Fauna (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995) as submitted by Nick McKim for recommending the Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) be listed as Vulnerable
2. Devils on Maria Island, Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania
3. 7.30 Report, ABC