Posted January 08, 2019 07:21:48 The final word on the future of our iconic species of Tasmanian Devil, the Tasmanian Timber Rattlesnakes, was written by Dr Mark Wood, a Tasmanian wildlife biologist.
His latest book, The End Of An Era: The End Game For the Tasmanians’ Biodiverse, was published by Penguin Australia on Friday, January 9, 2019.
Wood, who has worked on many iconic species, including the Great Australian Bison and the Tasman Forest Rhino, is a senior lecturer in ecology at the University of Tasmania.
He said it was vital that the species was protected in the wild to ensure the survival of its species.
“Tasmania has the largest Tasmanian population, which is currently around 60 per cent Tasmanian Devils and about 20 per cent other Tasmanian animals,” he said.
Tasmanian Timber Rattle snakes were once thought to have been extinct from the mainland but a large population was spotted in Victoria and Western Australia in the 1990s.”
There are a number of areas that are threatened with extinction because of habitat loss and fragmentation.”
Tasmanian Timber Rattle snakes were once thought to have been extinct from the mainland but a large population was spotted in Victoria and Western Australia in the 1990s.
However, they were hunted off the mainland by trappers in the 1980s, and the population was largely wiped out in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
It’s thought the population in Tasmania was wiped out by a massive, devastating fire in 2010, when temperatures rose to 50C and winds gusting up to 80km/h, destroying much of the vegetation on the island.
The Tasmanian timber rattlers’ population has been declining over the last two decades, with only a handful of populations remaining on the mainland.
The last recorded sighting of the Tasman Timber Rattlers in Tasmania in August 2016, was in a field off Hobart, near Mount Druitt.
Tasmans timber rattler population in Victoria has been estimated at only 300 to 400 individuals, according to the Tasman Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Mr Wood said the loss of the timber rattle population was a major blow to the ecosystem.
“It’s a very unique population that’s very sensitive to changes in temperature and weather and predators, and they’re a very well-established species,” he told ABC Radio Tasmania.
“The only way to save it is to remove them from the Tasman coast.”
“There’s been no real concerted efforts in Tasmania to protect them, they’ve basically disappeared into the bush.”
Dr Wood said it would be a mistake to assume that a Tasmanians species was more vulnerable to extinction than other species.
He told the ABC that Tasmanian Tasmanian Forest Rhino numbers were stable and there was no indication the population had been affected by climate change.
“When we were working with the Department of Environment and Conservation, they had a very high confidence level that we had the right species for them,” he explained.
“They knew what they were doing.
The species is resilient.
They’re going to continue to thrive.”
Dr Woody said there were many potential factors that could impact the survival and viability of the population, including disease, climate change and habitat loss.
“There have been many years when we’ve had more disease than we had in previous years, we’ve seen increased heat stress, there’s increased water stress,” he noted.
“So the population is at risk from drought and flooding, and those factors could have a big impact on it.”
DrWood said the species should be protected in its native habitat, rather than being brought to market for consumption.
“That would probably be the most logical way to protect the species, if you could do that safely, which Tasmania is not,” he added.
“In the past, Tasmania has done very well protecting the species.
There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be protected.”
I would be surprised if Tasmania doesn’t protect the population.
It’s just the way Tasmania has evolved.