Sydney, Australia (WiredPRNews.com) — After last week’s announcement that the majestic Polar Bear had been added to the grim list of the endangered and the threatened, a new report by the AFP confirmed on Monday that the list now has a new member: the Australian Tasmanian Devil.
Australia’s devil population has been drastically decreased by almost 60% due to a deadly and disfiguring cancer outbreak which exhibits itself in a rapidly growing tumor that begins in the head and proceeds to spread across the marsupial’s mouth and face. The cancer turns fatal as it prevents the devil from eating and often kills the creature within a matter of months.
Minister David Llewellyn, a spokesperson for Tasmania’s Primary Industries, noted that the Tasmanian Devil would likely be added to the endangered species list by Australia state officials today. According to the AFP, “The minister told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the animal would be upgraded from a vulnerable to an endangered species so that the “appropriate resources and effort” can be poured into protecting it.”
This effort would make provisions for a population of healthy devils to live in various protected habitats at zoos, wildlife reserves and other natural parks. Llewellyn stated, “If required, these animals could be utilized to help re-establish Tasmanian devil numbers in the wild.”
After further research on the facial tumor, it was found that the cancer is contagious and is able to be easily spread by biting–a characteristic native to the devil. As the largest marsupial carnivore in the world, the Tasmanian Devil only has populations in Australia’s southern island state.
Research into the history of these interesting creatures found that European settlers gave the feisty marsupial it’s “devil” name due to its blood-curdling screeches, dark black hair and notorious hot temper in addition to it’s steel trap jaw and ferocity.