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back to article Fence plan to save Tasmanian Devil

Aussie nature-boffins have a new scheme to prevent the extinction of the Tasmanian Devil by the simple means of a great big fence. The proposed barrier would aim to separate infected from healthy animals and stop the spread of the rampant face cancer which is destroying the species, reports the Beeb. The beleaguered beastie, …

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Corporate sponsorship?

Have they asked Warner Bros about sponsoring the fence?

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Cedric?

What sort of name is that for a devil?

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jai
Silver badge

spin?

would they not just spin round and round very fast and rip through the fence like a tornado?

or eat it?

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Joke

Re: Corporate sponsorship?

Warners? Pah! It's their bloody fault in the first place.

If they'd just let the Tasmanian Devil have the closing comment once, we wouldn't have the entire remaining population engineering a massive "That's all folks" for us.

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Linux

RE: Fence plan to save Tasmanian Devil

But should we?

If this is a natural evolutionary event (as opposed to a man-made one), should we interfere? Survival of the fittest should mean that either a defence to the disease will occur or the species will naturally go the way of many extinct species.

It would be a great shame, but perhaps (scarce) resources would be better spent saving species which are going extinct through man's intervention.

(Penguin, coz it's the only animal one available!!)

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(Written by Reg staff)

RE: Fence plan to save Tasmanian Devil

Well, regardless of whether or not this species is dying out naturally, few species operate in isolation and the Devil is pretty much the top of the Tasmania food chain. If it dies out, the ecosystem there is a bit fucked, as I understand it. Feral cats and foxes (not native, introduced to the island in 2001 by dodgy sorts) will take over.

Besides, there's always human intervention somewhere along the line. This cancer spreads rapidly because of vulnerabilities due to inbreeding - because there aren't enough of them to make a sufficiently diverse population - because they've been over-hunted. It's hard to establish whether these things are 'natural' in that sense.

Of course resources are scarce but the Tasmania gov are putting very little into trying to save the Devil, and it took years to convince them there was any problem. A bit rich considering it's more or less the national animal.

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Anonymous Coward

Bad joke alert

Taz hate face cancer!

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Pirate

an idea

perhaps the Tasmanian gov't should consider bringing in several animal-psychologists to help deal with the Devils' aggressive behavior, and teach the Devils ways to deal with their issues besides ripping each others faces off. Teach them to be a kind, peace-loving species and this disease will disappear.

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infectious cancer ?

Did I miss a trick some where,

so 'cancer' is infectious ? wow, so we can stop it,

BTW: when will the DARPA guys get hold of it as an idea ?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: infectious cancer ?

This is one of only two (I think) directly communicable cancers in the world - dogs get the other one which is sexually transmitted and rarely fatal. Some human cancers (ie cervical cancer) are infectious in the sense that they're caused by infectious viruses.

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Unhappy

fascinating, and yet depressing news

Thankyou, Sarah!

I'd never believed there was an infectious cancer, either.

The logistics to this problem are both daunting and saddening. Anyone who has observed or dealt with large scale artificially created boundries knows that building and maintaining such things is painstakingly labourious and time consuming.

On a small budget breaches will appear quickly, and be repairs could fall behind.

I'm assuming by their very names, the Devils are pretty aggressive animals, which means that if there were a breach, the infection could spread very rapidly due to male terratorial fighting?

The news of the lack of genetic diversity is also alarming. Although many eccological changes have been blamed for the demise of many species, when anylised, most can be attributed to a lack of diversity amongst the species, including the dodo. Lest we forget a great deal of animal behaviour is dictated by genetics, not just their form, and it is flexibility through diversity that saves a species from dramatic environmental changes.

When pigs were introduced to the island, it was the the dodos species-wide habbit of nesting on the ground near the beaches that spelled the end. The hunting story was a myth, as sailors records showed the meat was not very nice to eat (hence the introduction of pigs).

this leaves the rather unsavoury prospect of culling, which exasipates the lack of genetic diversity still further.

Unless a cure is found, I'm afraid I can't find a great deal of optimism in this situation.

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J

@RE: Fence plan to save Tasmanian Devil

Another human intervention, although in a more distant past, that can have helped cause the genetic problem: the Devils used to be all over Australia, and not just Tasmania. It is hypothesized that the introduction of the Dingo (a domestic dog gone feral) has led to the Devil's extinction from the very big island, leaving them only on the small one...

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National animal?

Perhaps I'm just an ignorant yank, but I always thought the kangaroo was the national animal of Australia... the nation to which Tasmania belongs as a state. As far as de facto "national animal" goes, if it isn't the 'roo, it would seem to me more likely to be an emu or maybe even dingo, despite its non-native status. I'm pretty sure Tasmanian devils are associated solely with the island-state of Tasmania, where they are probably the de facto state animal, if not officially.

Of course, please feel free to correct and/or flame me if I'm wrong, especially any Aussies who know better by proximity.

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@ Dave Morris

You sir, are far from an ignorant "yank".

Your comments are right.

Tasmania is a State of Australia, if the TD were anything it would be a State animal.

Ref: http://www.csu.edu.au/australia/state-emblems.html#tas

NB: The TD is an unofficial State animal.

The Australian coat of arms includes two native animals, the (red) kangaroo and the emu

(Macropus rufus) and (Dromaius novaehollandiae).

The myth is they were chosen as neither animal is 'able to take a backward step'.

Best wishes to you from Aussie!

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Anonymous Coward

Sarah did a boo boo !

"A bit rich considering it's more or less the national animal."

Australian States:

New South Wales- Victoria - Queensland - South Australia - Western Australia - Tasmania

Australian Territories:

Australian Capital Territory - Northern Territory - Christmas Island - Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Jervis Bay - Norfolk Island - Ashmore & Cartier Islands - Coral Sea Islands - Indian Ocean Territories - Australian-Antarctic Territory - Heard & McDonald Island

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Sarah did a boo boo !

Yeah, I know. Hence 'more or less'. I should have said 'in effect', or something. Or, saved my clicky finger energy and just donated a fiver to the Save The Devil campaign.

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