Tasmanian Devil Population 2018 – How Many Tasmanian Devils are Left

DO you have any idea how many Tasmanian devils are left in the world and how many have died of tumor disease to date? I hope not! In this article we’ll study Tasmanian devil population, its dynamics as well as future prospects of the devil’s extinction. You’ll be able to learn the precise factors which have caused the devil’s population to decline particularly over the past three decades. Nonetheless, the current population size of devils is estimated at 10,000 to 25,000 individuals in the wild. Let’s now dig deeper and find out how many Tasmanian devils are left in the world 2018.

Tasmanian Devil Population – How Many Tasmanian Devils are Left in the Wild

  • Researchers studied the population size of Tasmanian devil in the mid-1990s and they estimated at 130,000 – 150,000
  • Devils have lost much of its population since 1985 particularly following the discovery of Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD).
  • The rate at which the devils disappeared from their habitat increased at the beginning of the 20th In 2004, the overall population size reduced by 27% that increased up to 64% four years later.
  • Many researchers agreed that the decline was the greatest in habitats where devils were infected with DFTD the earliest.
  • The north-east population of Tasmanian devils nearly went extinct in 2007. Studies suggest that only 5% of the devils were left in 2007 from the population size in 1992. More so, scientists aren’t sure about the recovery of devils in the north-east of Tasmania.
  • On the east coast of Tasmania the devil’s population appears to face the same challenge in that it has declined over 60% since the discovery of DFTD in 2001.
  • Approximately 10,000 devils had died each year in the mid-1990s.

Read More: Why are Tasmanian Devils Endangered?

Population in Years

Declining Trend in %

2004

27%

2006

41%

2007

53%

2008

64%

How Many Tasmanian Devils are Left from 2000 to 2010

  • The population size in 2007 estimated at 25,000 adult devils but the total number of devils found to be around 50,000 individuals.
  • In 2004 there were approximately 21,000 Tasmanian devils remaining in the wild. Scientists mostly surveyed those sites which are infected with DFTD.
  • Most researchers agree that the most probable guess for the current size of devil population is around 10,000 – 25,000 individuals although potential error is likely.
  • Tasmanian devils inhabiting north-western Tasmania appears to be different from the rest. However generally speaking, devils are evenly spread throughout the island.
how many tasmanian devils are left
PHOTOGRAPH BY HEATH HOLDEN/National Geographic

Tasmanian Devil Population in the North-west of Tasmania

  • The north-western devil population is thought to be distinct from the mainland population. They occupy an overall area of 13,400 km² and found west of the Forth river.
  • A team of survey lead by C. Hawkins discovered the greatest number of devils in one of the disease-infected sites.
  • The population in the north-west of Tasmanian is estimated at 3,000 – 12,500 adult individuals.

Tasmanian Devil Population in the Southern-western Tasmania

  • Devils inhabiting southern or western Tasmania are known to occupy an area of 50,630 km².
  • The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program surveys have been surveying the site since 2004.
  • According to the survey there are approximately 7,000 – 12,500 mature devils left in this part of the island.

Major Causes of Decline in Tasmanian Devil Population

  1. Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD)
  2. Variation in Food Availability
  3. Bushfire and Loss of Habitat
  4. Roadkills and Loss of Genetic Diversity

Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD)

  • Should the declining trend in the Tasmanian devil population continue at the present rate, the devil will become extinct in the next ten years.
  • Although most animals have become redundant at the hands of humans, Tasmanian devils are threatened due to the introduction of DFDT. It’s not human doing.
  • “Populations have decreased by about 80% following the emergence of DFTD” Billie Lazenby, a biologist with the Department of Water and Environment in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
  • Scientists and researchers do believe that the high rate of mortality is most likely to be caused by DFTD and that they are dealing with an isolated population of devils across Tasmania.

Tasmanian Devil Population – How Many Tasmanian Devils are Left


Article Cited:

Hawkins, C.E., McCallum, H., Mooney, N., Jones, M. & Holdsworth, M. 2008. Sarcophilus harrisii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T40540A10331066. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T40540A10331066.en. Downloaded on 08 May 2018.

Billie T. Lazenby et al. Density trends and demographic signals uncover the long-term impact of transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils. Journal of Applied Ecology, published online February 5, 2018; doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13088.