Tasmanian devils have been released into the wild on Australia’s mainland 3,000 years after the feisty marsupials went extinct there, in what conservationists described Monday as a “historic” step.
Aussie Ark, along with a coalition of other conservation groups, revealed on Monday that they had released 26 of the carnivorous mammals into a 400-hectare (1,000-acre) sanctuary at Barrington Tops, about 3.5 hours north of Sydney.
Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark, said the “historic” releases in July and September were the first steps in a project akin to the successful move to return wolves to Yellowstone National Park in the United States in the 1990s.
After 16 years of work, including the establishment of mainland Australia’s largest Tasmanian devil breeding programme, Faulkner said it was “incredible and surreal” to have reached the goal.
“It’s the stuff dreams are made of,” he told AFP.