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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

5 July 2006

Further protection for our Tasmanian Devils


The Tasmanian Devil, under threat from the devastating Devil Facial Tumour Disease, has been listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

The listing follows the Australian Government’s earlier commitment of $2 million over two years to accelerate diagnostic research into the cause of the disease and to advance field research and management actions to limit the spread of the disease.

“Most Australians are aware of the threat to the Tasmanian Devil posed by Devil Facial Tumour Disease which has already caused a substantial decline in the species’ numbers,” Senator Campbell said.

“Listing the Tasmanian Devil under the EPBC Act offers the species additional protection and means that any new activity likely to have a significant impact on the species will need to be referred to the Australian Government for assessment and approval.

“The work already being done to fight Devil Facial Tumour Disease is now supported by national listing. Both are important for the long-term survival of the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial,” he said.

Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease was first detected in the mid-1990s and has since spread to populations throughout the Tasmania – though there is no evidence of it in the far north-west and west coast populations.

To date the cancer is estimated to have resulted in the loss of between 30 and 50 per cent of the wild population and while a recent breakthrough has revealed that the cancer is spread by biting, the cause of the disease is still not known.

“Our knowledge of the disease is improving as a result of monitoring of the wild population and diagnostic research – both of which are vital if we are to find a cure,” Senator Campbell said.

The EPBC Act, Australia’s principal environment legislation, protects matters of National Environmental Significance, including nationally threatened species. It streamlines the national environmental assessment and approvals process, protects Australian biodiversity and integrates management of important natural and cultural places.

Further information about the listing of the Tasmanian Devil under the EPBC Act is available at www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/index.html

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia