Sarcophilus Harrisii

The Tasmanian Devil by Aidan Mattiuzzo

Dates of Discovery and Extinction

The Tasmanian Devil is believed to have been alive roughly 400 years go with fossils being found on the Australian mainland. It is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list as Endangered, which is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations after Critically Endangered.

Biogeographical Data (Location, initial population size, ecology and behavior)

The Tasmanian devil is found natively in Australia. It was initially found throughout Australia until it was hunted close to extinction by farmers who thought that the Tasmanian Devil was the cause of death of livestock and after the introduction of the Devil Facial Tumor Disease was discovered. They are now currently found in only the state of Tasmania, Australia. In the early 1990’s, the population of the Tasmanian Devil was estimated to around 130,000 - 150,000, because of the Devil Facial Tumor Disease, the population has since drastically been reduced. The Devils are usually solitary, living by themselves although there have been sightings of groups of devils living together and ravaging carcasses as a group.The Tasmanian devil is nocturnal (active after dark). During the day it usually hides in a den, or dense bush. It roams considerable distances - up to 16 km - along well-defined trails in search of food. It usually ambles slowly with a characteristic gait but can gallop quickly with both hind feet together. Young Tasmanian devils are more agile however and can climb trees. Although not territorial unless fighting over a carcass, Tasmanian devils have a home range.

Causes Of Extinction

There are numerous causes of extinction/ endangerment, but the main cause is Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) which has drastically cut down the population of the devils. DFTD has been associated with about 89% of the decline in the species population. Other factors that have led to the extinction of the devils are Road kills which are responsible for roughly 2-3% of Devil kills annually, Dog kills which are responsible for about 700 Devil kills, Persecution due to Devils being ‘Pests’ allowing farmers with livestock to poison the Devils, indirectly poison areas around the far and the wool of sheep and Low Genetic Diversity has also led to the depopulation and gradual endangerment of the Tasmanian Devil.

Possible actions that can be taken to prevent the Extinction of the Tasmanian Devil

There are multiple theories ranging from culling the infected Tasmanian Devil species to provide a chance for the healthy Devils to multiply to coming up with a vaccine to prevent DFTD. There is currently no way to prevent, detect the disease in Devils and all is being done to create a vaccine in preventing or making Devils immune to the disease entirely.

This video below goes into depth about the Devil Facial Tumor Disease and what is being done in trying to find a vaccine to help save the species.

Saving the devil


Help save the Tasmanian Devil. Global Giving, 15 May 2000. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

"Tasmanian Devil 9 (Sarcophilus Harrasii)." Tasmanian Devil 9 (Sarcophilus Harrasii). Wildscreen Arkive, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <>.