Tasmanian Islands Katherine Casarrubias

Introduction

The Tasmanian Island is known as a biodiversity 'hot spot' with a various range of rare and endemic creatures, flora, and fauna. Tasmania is 150 miles south of Australia surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans with an area of 26,410 square miles. The Dutch explorer who discovered the island ( therefore it is named after him ) was Abel Janszoon Tasman, The main reason the island is important is for it's natural resources, rare animals and plants, and for how long it will survive seeing it is being affected by climate change, and

Country

Tasmania is a state of the country of Australia and it has human inhabitants with a population of 515,000 living there. Australia seeing that Tasmania has so many natural resources does use many of them. For on they use the water as Australia uses hydro-electrical power. However as of it is considered a protected area so it's natural ecosystem will hopefully be preserved.

Ecosystem

The islands of Tasmania are 6,500 islands and rock formation in total. The island were formed during the Last Glacial period, this mean they were formed as the sea level rose.

Climate: Tasmania never seems to have intermediate seasons as when it's cold it is mildly cold, and when it's hot it is mildly hot. The temperature never seems to meet in the middle, however it is considerably pleasant.

Geography; The islands are many and are made up of rocky mountains, forests, and coastal lines. There are actually a lot of farmers who plant fields of vegetation within the islands. The land has good soil to sustain life. It is known to have unique ecosystems, which could be one of the reasons why it has many organisms that are endemic to it.

Farming land and agriculture within the Island
Herds of Farm animals that roam land owned by farmers

Organism

Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian devil is the largest marsupial in the world with a carnivorous diet. It is native to the Tasmanian islands and is endemic to the island (though they were once on the main land of Australia), which may not be so good as it is also an endangered and a threatened species. As it's current population status ranges from a 15 to a 50 thousand population. The marsupial

Appearance: The Tasmanian devil has brown or black fur and it looks like a small baby bear. They have long front legs but short rear legs so as they walk they look like pigs. It is know that it has a strong jaw one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. The devil may grow to be up to 30 inches long and weigh up to 26 pounds.

Behavior: The main reason why they gave him the name devil was for it's aggressive nature as it is very competitive and will fight for food, shelter, and matting partner. Their growling and aggressive teeth showing gave them the name "devil".

Shelter: Tasmanian devils typically live along the coast of the islands or in forest. They have strong front legs which indicate they climb trees. This means they live in logs, dens, or any small place they may be able to hide from predators.

Diet: They are carnivores and eat only meat such as snakes, fish and insects without leaving a trace as they will consume everything the animal offers including hair, and bones. If they are well fed they will store a bit of fat in their tails. A dominant gesture they will preform to show dominance in their pack, they also do this as a way to protect their food. Although they mostly do eat car cases (animals run over by cars, in a way they decompose) that does not diminish them as predators. They are very capable to hunt especially with the help of their powerful jaw.

Reproduction: A reason for the Tasmanian devils to engage in fight is due to matting. Tasmanian devils mature by the time they turn two years of age, they typically mate during March. Mothers typically give birth at three weeks and hold 20 to 30 babies in their womb at once. Tasmanian devils are marsupials and have pouches in their bellies such as you would see with a kangaroo and her joey. However Tasmanian devils have only four nipples which allows them to nurse a few of their offspring, therefore many eventually die of starvation. The young typically are weaned at six months and are left on their own by eight.

Tas: In today's society taz is mostly known as one of the main characters from "The Looney Tunes", although it is acknowledged that the character perfectly describes the behavior a real Tasmanian Devil will display.

Taz from "The Looney Toons Show"

Interesting Facts:

  • Every few days it changes it's home
  • it can store fat in it's tail
  • it has one of the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom, so powerful it can bite through bones.
  • it may be small but it is an excellent tree climber.

Conservation efforts

Sure the Tasmanian devil could have a lot of reasons as to why it is becoming endangered. Although the two major reasons are car accidents as they often feed on roadkill and soon become roadkill themselves, and cancer. DFTD (or devil facial tumor disease) is the name of the cancer tumor that has developed among these carnivorous marsupials. The tumors grows on their mouths and heads but eventually they become blind from the tumor on their heads and can no longer hunt, but even if they did the tumor growing on their mouths would eventually prevent them from eating and will die of starvation. Some biologist speculate that one of the reasons why the Tasmanian devil no longer lives in the main land of Australia is due to the introduction of Asian dogs or dingoes.

The cancer tumor that grows on the mouth of the Tasmanian devil

DFTD or devil face tumor disease is actually a living cancer cell that can spread rapidly among Tasmanian devils. Although it mainly affects older males, so far it has killed 90% of the population. It spreads through biting. The tumor that grows on their mouth and becomes contagious when they bite another devil with their mouths. The disease can also be transmitted from parents to their offspring therefore it affects the young population as well. Another reaspn for their disappearance could be lack of shelter as many trees have been cut down in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Islands- The dots represent the areas most affected with Tasmanian devil cancer across the island

The Australian government has installed several conservation efforts to protect them from car accidents and DFTD. Zoos in Australia are isolating Tasmanian devils that have not been infected by the disease and are trying to find a cure or at least not get them infected. Conserving a few is a good idea for if most do die they will have several of them that will be able to repopulate and not have the disease.

As for the other three reasons they might be going extinct which are more human caused. Treaties and new laws have been made so drivers are and will be more careful as to not run over any more. As well as protecting the natural environment that is Tasmania so it has been for a while now a protected national park.

Sources

  • "PROJECTS." Events Calendar Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.
  • @NatGeo. "Tasmanian Devil." National Geographic. N.p., 16 Dec. 2016. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.
  • "Australian Museum." Tasmanian Devil. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
  • "Australian Museum." Tasmanian Devil. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
  • "Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD)." Bb258@cam.ac.uk. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

Credits:

Created with images by Anna's Photos - "Cradle Mountain, Lake Dove walk" • variationblogr - "Tasmanian_Devil_10"

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