Cancer-Carrying Tasmanian Devils

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The Tazmanian devil is unique to Australia’s island state of Tasmania. In 2001, biologists found that the iconic animal was afflicted with the worlds first known transmissible cancer. As the disease spread across the state and Tasmanian devil population numbers fell alarmingly, the government launched a “Save the Devil” campaign to investigate the cause of the disease and prevent this unique species from becoming extinct.

Not only is this disease drastically reducing their numbers, but it’s quite horrific to watch. Teeth falling
out, jaws breaking off. Tumors protruding into eye sockets. Nick Mooney, one of Tasmania’s top wildlife biologists, states “what we saw is both disgusting and spectacular. There must have been tens of thousands of devils dying in absolute misery”.

Learn more about the Tasmanian devil and hear audio of their snarling and screaching.
View photos of Tasmanian devils.

National Geographic Kids Tasmanian devil feature.

Video Preview:
Curse of the Tasmanian Devil airs tonight, Friday May 14 at 9P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild.