National Geographic published an article in 2008, Tasmanian Devils Named Endangered Species, and this was because the numbers of the Tasmanian Devil had fallen so rapidly that the estimated extinction date would be roughly 20 years from then. This would be unstoppable too as the reason for the rapid decline was in most part due to a cancer that is spread when one Tasmanian Devil bites another Devil.
The IUCN Red List for Endangered Species puts the Tasmanian Devil as Endangered, and highlights the rapid loss of Devils in Tasmania. It states that there was a 60% decline over 10 years (Hawkins et al. 2006, McCallum et al. 2007) due to the fatal infectious cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
In 2012, the first island translocation of the Tasmanian Devil was made to Maria Island, a small off-shore island on the Tasmanian Coast by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. This was where the program sought healthy Tasmanian Devils and released them on Maria Island in the hope of creating an “Insurance Population” for the future safety of the Tasmanian Devil. Over the past 3 years, and having release 28 Devils, there is a growing population of between 70 and 90 animals as of July 2015, so things look to be improving.
What the future holds for the Tasmanian Devil is certainly worth keeping an eye on, as is the tireless work of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. With careful monitoring and a keen sense that other eco-systems on Maria Island are not too affected by this change there may be hope for a disease free population of Tasmanian Devils in the not too distant future.
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program offers a Volunteer Program if you want to get involved. Just click the link here.