Dr Chris Brown Is Doing His Part to Bring Our Tassie Devil Population “Back From the Brink”

Dr Chris
Network Ten

Dr Chris Brown is doing his bit for the Tasmanian devils, returning the iconic creature to mainland Australia for the first time in 3000 years.

In 2020, 26 Tassie devils were released into a 400-hectare wild sanctuary in Barrington Tops, NSW. The release of the devil is the first step in a bigger project to “rewild Australia” by eliminating feral, introduced animals and restoring balance to the bush. 

In this week’s episode of The Living Room, Dr Chris heads up to the central coast of NSW to meet the president of Aussie Ark, Tim Faulkner, to see how the devils are settling into their new home on the mainland. 

“They’re settling in pretty well,” Dr Chris told POPSUGAR Australia. “It has potentially quite positive effects on the Australian landscape. Their role essentially is to almost act like the police officers of the Aussie bush.”

“They go around and checking nothing is lingering, nothing is causing any trouble and if an animal is sick, or if another animal is getting too high in population, they clean it up and take care of it. That’s the role of an apex predator.”

The idea of the sanctuary — which is located at an altitude of 1,350 metres — provides the perfect breeding environment for the Tasmanian devil and if all is going to plan, they will continue to produce joeys, which will eventually result in a self-sustaining wild population. So cool!

“They probably like it a little bit colder than us,” Dr Chris explained. “That’s why they enjoy Tasmania, that’s why they enjoy the Barrington Tops area, but they’re also pretty adaptable to general Australian conditions.”

Once at the sanctuary, Dr Chris and Faulkner will conduct general health checks on the Tassie devils to ensure that they’re happy and healthy in their new environment. This process includes a general health check-up and making sure there are no signs of facial tumour disease.

Dr Chris also gets the opportunity to release a new arrival from Tasmania — and this particular devil has a very special role in the breeding program and the survival of the species, something he calls a “pretty powerful thing”.

“I’m well aware that the amount of vet work I am doing with these devils and the amount of effort, time and passion that’s gone into breeding them and getting the population back from the brink,” he said.

“So, to actually get to the end of the road —which is seeing them go to the wild situation — you feel heavily involved and emotionally connected to them because of the effort and hardship that has gone into this.”

Catch the full segment on The Living Room at 7.30pm on Friday, April 21 on Network Ten and on-demand on 10 Play.

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