Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors actively supports the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. The program has been implemented with the aim of finding a cure for Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD); a deadly and contagious cancer that has wiped out 90% of the devil population in some areas of Tasmania.
DFTD poses a major threat to the remaining population of wild Tasmanian devils with approximately 15,000 - 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. DFTD is identifiable by ulcerated tumours that develop around the jaw and head of the devil, blocking the mouth, nose, ears and eyes. These growths cause blindness and starvation resulting in a slow painful death stretched over several months. The disease is always fatal and immunity does not develop.
Currently 70% of Tasmania is affected by DFTD however the western parts of Tasmania are disease-free as a result of ongoing protection efforts. The disease mostly affects older devils due to infection from mating and fighting resulting in younger populations of devils becoming extremely vulnerable to other threats including foxes, habitat destruction and domestic pet attacks. Researchers estimate that wild Tasmanian devils will be extinct in as little as 10 to 15 years if nothing is done to save the species.
Wildlife Warriors financially support research carried out through the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to help find a solution to DFTD helping to protect the remaining wild population of these unique endangered Australian marsupials.