The TCT’s public criticism of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program earlier this year has brought about a change in how the program communicates with the outside world, but we are yet to see decisive action on delivery of an insurance population – our major complaint.
After the program went for more than 18 months without holding a meeting of the Stakeholder Reference Group and with little other news from the program, there were two meetings of the group in April and May. The other major development has been that the long awaited recovery plan has been drafted and, when finalised, will provide the first comprehensive and agreed plan for saving the species. The TCT and other NGOs have had significant input into the draft plan and it has the potential to be very effective. Look out for the public comment period over the next few weeks.
The program has improved its communication and is developing a better plan, addressing two concerns we have shared with the Australian Government (who largely funds the program) but, as we stated in the last newsletter, it seem unable or unwilling to take decisive action to complete the insurance population – with islands still the major sticking point.
This is disappointing because, in the TCT’s opinion, the creation of an insurance population is currently the only significant action that can be taken to save the devil. The recovery plan, which has brought together all of the relevant science and assessed all the possible strategies for saving the species, confirms this view.
The program is currently only investigating Maria Island for possible introduction of devils and the recovery plan has set the not-too-ambitious target of completing the insurance population within five years. We will continue to push for a completed insurance population in the next year or two.