Australian state government wants Tasmanian devils listed as "threatened"


SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian state government has nominated the Tasmanian devil as a threatened species, fearful that the species will become extinct like the iconic Tasmanian tiger.

The devil is the size of a small dog, is generally black and boasts a steel-trap jaw that allows it to swallow its prey whole. Early European settlers named the scavenger the devil for its ear-piercing screeches and fearsome appearance.

But the species has become prey to a disfiguring facial cancer that leads to death by starvation, prompting state Environment Minister Judy Jackson to call for greater protection for the animal.

The disease has reduced the numbers of devils by at least 20 percent during the last decade, a spokesman for the minister told AFP Thursday.

"There's the further likelihood of another 20 percent (reduction) in 10 years," he added.

There are currently an estimated 130,000 devils across the island state, but in some areas local populations had declined by more than 70 percent.

The disease was first noticed in the 1990s but not initially considered significant. The government began a programme to combat the tumour problem in October 2003.

"We just don't want to see the devil go the same way as the tiger," the spokesman said.

The last known Tasmanian tiger, a carnivorous marsupial larger than the devil, died in a Hobart zoo in the 1930s. Since then, there have been regular reported sightings of the striped creature but no confirmed findings.

Below I have put two pictures, one of a Healthy Devil and one disfigured and sick from the tumour/cancers, poor little thing...:shaking head....this is not the only pic I found with the tumours, but this is the least offensive, they were horrible, once again ,Poor little animal....I feel so sorry for animals of all kinds, they are better than us...


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