A devil is checked as part of the annual monitoring project
he 2018 Annual Monitoring Project has begun with Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) staff conducting the first of eight field trips at Narawntapu National Park.
Developed in 2014, the project was established to investigate the status of wild Tasmanian devil populations and any changes over time which then inform decisions on conservation strategies.
Through this project long-term devil population data - including abundance, age and sex structure, and disease prevalence - is collected from across the State with funding and support from Toledo Zoo.
STDP staff also collect genetic and tumour samples which are used by the program and Dr Elizabeth Murchison from University of Cambridge, a collaborator with the monitoring project looking at DFTD tumour evolution.
Clare Lawrence, coordinator of the Annual Monitoring Project, said the results of the monitoring trip at Narawntapu were consistent with previous surveys at the site over the past four years.
“In total 23 Tasmanian devils were trapped over seven nights, of which 13 had not been caught previously,” Clare said. “There was a prevalence of one and two-year-old devils which is not unexpected and typical in diseased populations where many devils die within their first three years.
“Having said that we had three notable captures with five-year-old Darcy and Flow and seven-year old Boots making a welcomed appearance during the trip”.
The first field trips of the monitoring season concentrate on Narawntapu National Park
More information about the Annual Monitoring Project including the methods used by the STDP to gather data can be found at http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/wildlife-management/save-the-tasmanian-devil-program/about-the-program/annual-monitoring