Tazmanian Devil Now Endangered Species

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

The Tasmanian devil, a marsupial that is exclusive to the island Australian state of Tasmania, has been added to the endangered species list by the Australian government.

National Geographic says the animal had previously been listed as "vulnerable" but was changed to endangered recently due to a fatal epidemic of devil facial tumor disease that has wiped out vast numbers of Tasmanian devils.

Numbers the government suggest a decline of at least 100,000 over a period of about 20 years.

National Geographic also reports the devils' disease is a form of cancer and is one of only two cancers that can spread like contagious diseases. This disease is transmitted through bites, and causes the formation of large tumors on the face and neck. The tumors make it impossible for the animals to eat, and they starve to death. The disease was first seen in 1996, and recovery from the disease has not been seen.


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