Seven Tasmanian devils have been born in mainland Australia, more than 3,000 years since they died out in the area, marking a hopeful step in conservation efforts for the endangered animals.
“The wilds of mainland Australia are experiencing a special kind of baby boom — one that hasn’t happened here in more than 3,000 years,” according to an Instagram post by Aussie Ark, an Australian nonprofit hoping to “rewild” the country by protecting its threatened species.
The post announced the birth of seven Tasmanian devils at the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. The birth is the next stage of Aussie Ark’s #DevilComeback project, which aims to return Australia’s ecosystems “to that of pre-European settlement” by creating a self-sustaining Tasmanian devil population, according to Aussie Ark’s website.
Tasmanian devils died out in mainland Australia partially because they were outcompeted by dingoes introduced after European settlement, according to the organization’s website. The devils took another hit from Devil Facial Tumor Disease, which decimated up to 90% of the population, according to the website. As a result, the devils only survived on the island of Tasmania, where just 250,000 remain in the wild.