Tasmanian Devils Face Extinction

Iconic marsupials hit by contagious facial cancer
By Sarah Seltzer,  Newser User
Posted May 7, 2007 8:33 AM CDT
Tasmanian Devils Face Extinction

Tasmanian Devils, the largest marsupial carnivore and the island's main tourist attraction, are threatened with extinction due to a contagious and fatal form of facial cancer spreading rapidly through the population. "Once they've got a lump, it's a one way trip,"  one expert  says.

In some regions of the island, the disease has already wiped out the population, Der Spiegel reports. So 47 quarantined "Tassie Devils" have been removed from the island as an insurance population. The island's mascot is a carrion eater that has the strongest bite of all mammals, howls hideously at night,  and exudes "a stench that would put a skunk to shame." (More Tasmanian Devil stories.)

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