Devils of the Alpine - Field Monitoring Program Update
1st of July 2006 - 30th of June 2007
July 1st 2007 marked one full year (12 months) of the Devils of the Alpine - Field Monitoring Program. During this time we have taken 1758 photographs of Tasmanian devils and confidently identified a possible 77 individuals.
Tragically 4 of these 77 individuals have been identified with DFTD, one of which was killed by a vehicle on Cradle Mountain Road near Leary's Corner.
The occurrence of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) in the population as a percentage of the total number of individuals observed has declined sharply from 11.5% at its maximum to 5.2% (see below). This is a very positive finding and may indicate that there is some resistance to DFTD in the Cradle Mountain area or that the population within an alpine area is more solitary in its activity and therefore less efficient at spreading the disease.
7 individual Spotted-tail quolls were observed through 243 photographs. 4 male, 2 female and 1 juvenile (killed by a vehicle on Cradle Mountain Road) None of these individuals showed any signs of lesions, supporting the idea that DFTD is restricted to the Tasmanian devil population.
Approximately 10 Eastern Quolls were observed over the 12 months through 104 photographs. Initially this species was photographed much more frequently than the Spotted -tail quoll and Tasmanian devil but the rate of capture has declined through the second part of the study. This may indicate that the animals are becoming trap shy. Hopefully it does not indicate that the Eastern Quoll population is declining.
This initial 12 months of research has provided us with a greater understanding of the Tasmanian devil population around Cradle Mt. and the current effects of DFTD however, the Program is ongoing and we look forward to learning more over the next 12 months. We will keep you updated on the results throughout next year and beyond!
Statistical summary of initial 12 months of study
Study area - Cradle View property 9.92ha and Middlesex Station
Total photographs - 1758
Total individuals - 77
Adult Males - 35
Adult Females - 34
Juveniles - 8
Confirmed DFTD Cases - 4 (5.2.% of observed)
Injured devils Rehabilitated -1
Spotted Tail Quoll
Total photographs - 243
Total individuals - 7
Male - 4
Female - 2
Juvenile - 1
Total photographs - 104
Total individuals - Approximately 10