Image for Caught on camera!

[Extracts from Save the Tasmanian Devil newsletter June 2011]

prepared by David Obendorf

Tasmanian devil populations are persisting at ‘ground zero’ - in the north-east of Tasmania.

Thirty remote cameras were placed across a grid of 300,000 hectares - basically the whole of the NE tip of Tasmania in a 20-day landscape survey.

“Our cameras detected devil presence at 19 locations”, said Sam Thalmann, a wildlife biologist with the Save the Devil Program.

“This is pretty exciting because it means there’s no evidence of extinction [of Tasmanian devils] in those north-eastern areas… now we’ve got the cameras that can survey over larger areas with less effort. We can look in real time at exactly what is actually happening rather than making assumptions.”

The use of remote cameras in the February 2011 survey provided a passive and non-invasive technique to detect devils and other species. The use of remote cameras in wildlife monitoring require fewer resources and labour than conventional trapping surveys.

“This survey can be applied across Tasmania. The technique can inform on large-scale patterns of distribution of not only Tasmanian devils, but also quoll and feral cats.”

[Comment: In over ten years of use, no images of Tasmanian foxes have been taken from the 100-plus remote cameras owned by DPIPWE’s Conservation & Biodiversity Branch.]