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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Australian icon gets greater environmental protection

Media Release
22 May 2009

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One of Australia's iconic native species and the world's largest surviving marsupial carnivore has been given increased threatened status under national environment law.

Environment Minister, Peter Garrett today announced that the Tasmanian devil will be uplisted to the endangered category from vulnerable.

Mr Garrett said the uplisting meant the species was under continued threat and the population was continuing to decline, but it would now get greater protection under national environment law.

"My decision to uplist the Tasmanian devil is based on advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee which lists the Devil Facial Tumour Disease as the major threat to the devil.

"This disease has led to the decline of about 70 per cent of the Tasmanian devil population since the disease was first reported in 1996.

"Fortunately, strong action is being taken to find out more about this disease and to stop its spread.

"The Australian Government has already committed $10 million over five years to the Save the Tasmanian Devil program.

"This is to help with research into disease transmission and treatment, and will support captive and wild populations.

"My department will also continue to play an active role as part of the steering committee which implements the Save the Tasmanian Devil program."

Commonwealth of Australia