Tasmanian Devil II
6" x 8" $200
Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii). The devil was given its common name by early European settlers, who were haunted at night by the sound of its spine-chilling screeches and demonic growls.
The Tasmanian devil is the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. It once was found on mainland Australia, but is believed to have gone extinct there about 600 years ago, most likely due to the dingo. Today it is found only in Tasmania.
Since the mid-1990's, devil populations have dropped dramatically due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease, an infectious mouth cancer that is spread by saliva and is highly contagious. Estimates vary but most likely 50-60% of the wild population has died, and it is likely to go extinct in the wild in the next 10 years. Research into the disease is ongoing, and a captive insurance population is being established on the mainland. Still, the outlook is bleak.