Simon Bevilacqua Sunday Tasmanian
CHEMICAL pollution may be a factor in the deadly disease ravaging Tasmanian devils, says a new paper published in a leading science journal in Europe. The new paper, in the European Journal of Oncology, says chemical pollutants in the Tasmanian landscape may be a primary, triggering or contributory factor in Devil Facial Tumour Disease. “The environment of Tasmania is widely contaminated by human activities, whose residual health effects on native wildlife are unknown,” the paper states. “The Tasmanian devil is the major carnivore at the head of a diverse native animal food chain of grazing herbivorous marsupials. “The role of bioaccumulated persistent organic pollutants and possibly genotoxic chemicals requires investigation.” The paper was written by University of Tasmania researcher Neil McGlashan, Hobart veterinary pathologist David Obendorf and South African AIDS researcher Jack Harington. It raises a number of hypotheses detailing potential chemical and viral involvement in the deadly disease.