Friday 26th of February 2021

save the taz .....

save the taz .....

Tasmanian devils with large facial tumours were photographed in north-east Tasmania during 1996. A decade later, we know these characteristics are consistent with Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) - a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head.

As at December 2008, the Tasmanian devil disease had been confirmed at 64 different locations across more than 60% of Tasmania's mainland.


Tassie devil officially endangered

The tasmanian devil will be placed on the federal endangered species list today.

The Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the devil population in Tasmania has declined by up to 70 per cent over the 13 years, as the deadly facial tumour disease continues to spread.

He says listing the species as endangered gives it greater protection under national environment laws.

Environment ministers are meeting in Hobart today.


Tasmanian Devil (Looney Tunes)


The Tasmanian Devil, often referred to as " Taz", is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons. The character appeared in only five shorts before Warner Bros Animation closed down in 1963, but marketing and television appearances later propelled the character to new popularity in the 1990s.


1080 Is Torture

1080 (sodium monofluroacetate) is a cruel and indiscriminate poison used to 'remove' unwanted populations of animals.

Banned in most countries, 1080 is still used liberally throughout Australia to control so-called 'pest' species, and reduce 'browsing damage' caused by native animals on private land.

1080 poison is a slow killer. When ingested (usually through baited food) the animal suffers a prolonged and horrific death. Herbivores take the longest to die - up to 44hrs, while carnivores can take up to 21hrs before finally succumbing to final effects of the poison. The speed of death is dependent on the rate of the animals metabolism.


There is no direct connection between 1080 and the cancer affecting the Tasmanian Devils. But the use of the poison would not help. Its use is an act of vandalism against nature. Obviously, the cancer affecting the Tas Devils only appeared in the last few decades and as such the question remain as to why. Has human contact or actions, accidentally or deliberately, directly or indirectly, affected these animals...?

too many tazmanians in peril...

From the SMH Diary... amongst an entertaining mishmash of celeb nooz...

With Tasmanian in peril

The fight to save the ailing Tasmanian devil from going the way of the Tasmanian tiger has moved to Hollywood. Tasmanian-made-good Simon Baker, of The Mentalist fame, and Wolverine star Liev Schreiber have signed up as ambassadors for an international push by the Taronga Foundation to fund the breeding of more than 500 disease-free devils in Australian zoos. The group would be an "insurance population" in case the search for a cure for the facial tumour disease that is threatening to wipe them out proves unsuccessful, said Taronga Zoo's director, Guy Cooper. Baker's connection is obvious, but Schreiber's (apart from being married to Naomi Watts) is just very Hollywood: Cooper says Schreiber has a "personal connection" with the devil as it is his "talisman". Tonight an appeal featuring Baker and the Warner Bros character Taz, pictured, will screen during The Mentalist. Tomorrow night a walk-on part in the show will be auctioned during a $300-a-head fund-raiser at Ivy in George Street. Bids can be made online from today at


Should they also help save Bob Brown and the Swift Parrot — both located in the same planetary region and more endangered than the tazmataz — becoming extinct under the heavy boots of the chainsaw "industry"...? Yes they should as well...

nerves near their whiskers...

A team of international scientists has made a major breakthrough in the fight to save tasmanian devils from extinction.

The team says it has worked out exactly what kind of cancer is killing the animals, finding that the deadly facial tumour disease is growing in the devils' nerve cells.

Until now, the contagious cancer has been as mysterious as it is deadly.

The scientists have published their findings in today's edition of the journal Science.

Professor Greg Woods, who works at the Menzies Research Unit in Hobart, made the discovery along with colleagues in New York and Melbourne.

"Basically we did some genetic analysis to discover that the tumour is actually about the peripheral nerve cell, called the Schwann cell," he said.


tourism road kill...

Tourist drive paves further pain for devils

By Felicity Ogilvie

Scientists are warning the last disease-free population of Tasmanian devils could end up as road kill because of a revamped plan to build a tourist road in the state's Tarkine rainforest.

Tasmania's Labor Government is holding onto its long-held dream to build a tourist road through Australia's largest area of temperate rainforest.

The Liberals and the Greens refuse to support the Government's plans but they support Labor's plans to push ahead with the sealing of the Western Loop of Tarkine Road.

But this is something scientists say will see more Tasmanian devils killed.

Labor has had to compromise on its original plan now it is in a minority government with the Greens.

It abandoned the most controversial aspects of the 137 kilometre-long road but is still pushing ahead with 93 kilometres of the Western Loop.

The Government is seeking to have the road approved by Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

see toon at top...

genomes of the devil...

Scientists have sequenced the complete genomes of two Tasmanian devils in the hope of finding clues to preserving this highly endangered marsupial.

Devil populations have been decimated by a highly contagious facial cancer that is transferred when these aggressive animals bite each other.

The findings will help researchers select the best individuals to be kept in captivity for eventual re-release.

The research is outlined in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii, gets its name from its high-pitch, blood-curdling squeal, and is renowned for fighting over access to animal carcases, which it grinds with the bone-crushing force of its jaws.

Candid cancer

In 1996, a wildlife photographer snapped an image of an animal in the far north-east of Tasmania with a peculiar growth on its face.

The growth, it turned out, was neither benign, nor isolated to this one individual, but was a highly contagious, fatal cancer that seemed to be spreading through the population at lightning speed.

By 2007, conservationists reported that Devil Facial Tumour Disease, DFTD, had wiped out more than 90% of devil populations in the north-east of Tasmania, and was spreading west.

about the tasmanian tiger...

The strange marsupial carnivore, which became extinct in 1936, was thought to kill sheep. Sheep farming was the backbone of the Australian economy, and the government duly set up a bounty scheme to exterminate the species.

But a new study has now revealed that the marsupial carnivore's jaws were too weak to snare a struggling adult sheep.

The findings are reported in the Journal of Zoology.

As well as revealing the injustice of its being hunted, the study also suggests that the animal's diet contributed significantly to its demise.

"They would need to hunt a lot of small animals to survive," explained lead researcher Marie Attard from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney.

"So just small disturbances to the ecosystem - such as those resulting from the way European settlers altered the land - would have reduced their odds of survival."

Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the death of what is believed to have been the last remaining thylacine, named Ben. The animal was kept at Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.

the trouble with the devil...

THE fatal Tasmanian devil cancer has reached the marsupial's last great stronghold in the island's north-west, fuelling a dispute about the region's Tarkine wilderness.

A young male trapped by wildlife researchers in plantation forests near Burnie is believed to have contracted devil facial tumour disease, adding to two earlier confirmed cases in the same area.

The cancer has ravaged devils, threatening their extinction in the wild. Numbers have plunged by 84 per cent since the disease first took hold in the late 1990s, according to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Scientists have seen the disease steadily sweep from east to west across the island over the past decade, to affect devils in the island's north-west, where their numbers are still healthy.

Conservationist pressure is rising on the federal government to slow this incursion.

The Save the Devil wildlife biologist Sam Fox said her trapping team found the latest victim, a two-year-old, in the forest district of Takone, 20 kilometres from Burnie, this week.

Read more:

An association of thoughts here is necessary... The young devil with this horrible disease was found in "A PLANTATION FOREST".
Is there a relationship between the disease and plantation forests?... Though I believe many studies could have been made on this relationship, is there an unfortunate contentious cause/effect like that on the East coast of Tassie, between a plantation forest and the decimation of oyster beds... The complicated relationship between water quality and plantation forest is not as clear cut as it would seem. In a nutshell, some plantation forests need to be "made pest free" with the use of some insecticides. But after much observation, the insecticides used do not appear to have an effect on the oysters, thus baffling some studies...
Some scientists still working hard on the subject have somehow pinpointed that the trees used the plantation — eucalytus species from the mainland — are not native to the area concerned. In the wild forests of Victoria, these trees grow amongst other tree species. When cultivated as a solo timber source, the concentration of some of their "toxic oils" becomes critical. During rainfall, a lot of these oils are washed from their leaves and from the soil into creeks and rivers to the sea. There, these natural occuring oil, in higher concentration than from a diverse native forest, may have an impact on the quality of the water, encouraging a shift in the defence mechanism of oysters, affecting their health... More studies need to be made but in the case of the Tasmanian Devils, we might need "the angel" in us to be more urgently astute...
We all know — or should know — that most Eucalyptus oils, as well as tea tree oils, are HIGHLY TOXIC...
See toon and story at top...

save the koala...



KOALAS are expected to be listed as a threatened species across parts of Australia from Monday, and some environment groups claim the government has excluded the marsupial from protection in certain areas due to mining interests. Research conducted near Gunnedah, which is promoted as the ''koala capital of the world'', show numbers for the animal there have declined by 75 per cent since 1993, yet koalas in the area are not expected to be granted extra protection.
The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said his decisions about the animal's status were based on advice from the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee. A decision originally slated for mid-February was deferred until April 30.The new ruling will be published next week but, based on current data, is likely to list koalas in south-east Queensland as ''endangered'', and animals east of the Great Dividing Range in NSW as ''vulnerable''.
In practical terms, the listings would mean the federal government could potentially impose conditions on plans for new mines, housing developments and logging operations to stop them from interfering with koalas and their habitat.


Read more:


Meanwhile  the taz:

It has been discovered, after much research from institutions across Australia, that a lack of genetic diversity among Tasmanian Devils is a key factor in the transmission of Devil Facial Tumour disease (DFTD).

"Devils do not mount an immune response against DFTD," said Dr Katherine Belov, from Sydney University’s School of Veterinary Science.

"This is due to a loss of genetic diversity in the most important immune gene region of the genome: the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC).



save the tarkine...

Unions and environmentalists are battling over the future of Tasmania's pristine Tarkine region in the state's north-west.

The area, which is home to the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the Southern Hemisphere, could see several new open cut mines being developed.

The Tarkine had emergency national heritage listing for 12 months but it ran out two years ago and now mining groups are looking to capitalise.

On top of a number of mining proposals already being assessed, there are dozens of exploration licences being granted.

Environment Minister Tony Burke says environmental impacts for each project should be considered separately.

"I'd be surprised if it's a blanket listing across the whole area," he said.

"I'll wait for the advice to come back, but certainly I'm minded to look at what are the areas where you would want to put the highest level of focus on.

"They are a number of kilometres from each other, they're a different ecological character between them, and therefore the environmental issues that you take into account are different from place to place."

Greens leader Christine Milne has been meeting with Tony Burke to lobby for a reinstatement of the heritage listing.

She says she believes all the proposals should be assessed together so the cumulative impact will be examined.

"Before you know it, you've destroyed the whole area," she said.

"That is where Minister Burke is taking the Tarkine at the moment."

save the tarkine 2...

A group of 70 artists have spent their Easter break exploring a remote part of north-west Tasmania and creating works they hope will lead to the area's protection.

Known as the Tarkine region, it includes the second largest cool temperate rainforest in the world, Aboriginal heritage sites and a windswept coastline.

But protection of the region is highly contentious, and is opposed by the Federal and Tasmanian governments because forestry logging coupes, mines and mineral exploration leases cover the bulk of its territory.

Time lapse photographer Daniel Johnson travelled from Victoria to what is known as the Edge of the World, a rugged coastal area with big swell and surging kelp near the Arthur River.

read more:


See above, two years ago...

New research into Tasmanian

New research into Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) could help in understanding the growth of cancerous tumours in humans.

Dr Rodrigo Hamede said the approach used in a University of Tasmania study went beyond devils, and might help scientists understand how tumour properties influenced growth in other types of cancers, including those in humans.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to empirically estimate tumour growth rates, in the absence of treatment in a wild population," he said.

DFTD, which is transmitted by biting, fighting and mating, has wiped out more than 80 per cent of the wild population in the past 20 years.

The research showing differences in the growth rates of fatal tumours in Tasmanian devils might also help research into fighting the disease.

Research team member Dr Scott Carver said the devils offered opportunities for wider research into tumour growth in general.

"It is very rare that you are able to measure the growth of a tumour or a cancer without it being treated," he said.

"For example, if you know of any human that gets cancer, that is immediately treated, and you don't sit back and watch it grow.

"In a wild animal like the Tasmanian devils, it is not really possible to treat them out in nature.

read More:


Obviously this problem did not exist (or not on this huge scale) before the "white man" invaded Tasmania. There is a connection and it is important to find it, whether it comes through deforestation, 1080 poisons or any other unnatural causes. That the study of these animals problem can help us is cold comfort but might provide us with a solution to their problem.

new disease for the taz?

Disturbing images of a Tasmanian devil with large portions of fur missing have emerged from the north of the state. 

The pictures were posted online and show the marsupial walking on a road near Badger Head, an hour north of Launceston.

Community members speculated that the condition looked similar to sarcoptic mange, currently affecting Tasmanian wombat populations.

Many who have voiced their concerns have been seeking answers about the cause of the condition.

"What's happened? That poor thing, looks horrible," said one person.

"Apart from the wide area alopecia, the abdomen seemed to be grossly swollen for whatever reason. Awful!," said another.

read more:


a genetic weakness not to dodge bullets...


The first full genetic blueprint of the long-extinct thylacine has revealed the animal suffered from genetic weakness well before it was isolated on Tasmania 10,000 to 13,000 years ago.

An international team of researchers led by associate professor Andrew Pask from the University of Melbourne used DNA from the 106-year-old preserved remains of a juvenile thylacine or Tasmanian tiger to sequence the animal’s genome, making it one of the most complete genetic blueprints for an extinct species.

Their findings, published in the journal Nature, provide new information on the biology of the unique marsupial and reveal that the population was in danger long before it came in contact with humans.

Read more:



In May 1850, a 20-year-old Potawatomi tribal leader named Simon Pokagon was camping at the headwaters of Michigan’s Manistee River during trapping season when a far-off gurgling sound startled him. It seemed as if “an army of horses laden with sleigh bells was advancing through the deep forests towards me,” he later wrote. “As I listened more intently, I concluded that instead of the tramping of horses it was distant thunder; and yet the morning was clear, calm, and beautiful.” The mysterious sound came “nearer and nearer,” until Pokagon deduced its source: “While I gazed in wonder and astonishment, I beheld moving toward me in an unbroken front millions of pigeons, the first I had seen that season.”

These were passenger pigeons, Ectopistes migratorius, at the time the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world.


Read more:



My concern here is that the sample from which this genetic study was made, could be too small to show diversity. I could be wrong, but the main stories tell that the Tassie Tiger was alive and well when the newly arrived white farmers started to shoot them, trap them and poison them. The fate of the Passenger Pigeon that had plenty of "genetic diversity" and huge population numbers is a cautionary tale in trying to whitewash what really happened to the Tassie Tiger... which has not been "long-extinct", contrarily to this The Guardian article... Not even 100 years (On 7 September 1936, the last known thylacine died in Hobart Zoo.)


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more trouble for taz...

Devil facial tumour 2 (DFT2) was discovered in 2014 in devils from the d'Entrecasteaux region, in south-east Tasmania.

The new study, published online in the journal Evolutionary Applications, is the first detailed look at the cancer's impact on wild animals, said co-author Rodrigo Hamede of the University of Tasmania.

The disease is not a strain of the already well-known devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) that first hit Tassie devils over 20 years ago.

"DFT2 is a completely independently evolved transmissible cancer happening in the same species," Dr Hamede said.

But, he said, the presence of two transmissible cancers in the devils may push both cancers to evolve to be more aggressive.

"[There is now] competition between the two tumour [types]."


Read more:


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