In 2012, a handful of Tasmanian devils were brought to Maria Island, east of Tasmania, Australia. The relocation was made to save the creatures from a devastating facial cancer that killed 90% of their population and pushed them to extinction.
Unfortunately, the arrival of one species has resulted in the extinction of another. Since the 45 square mile island became a new home for the devils, about 3,000 breeding pairs of tiny penguins had vanished because they became prey.
Critics now blame the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) for the introduction of the Tasmanian devils to Maria Island. Many believe the unfortunate incident with the penguins could have been prevented.
Eric Woehler, an ornithologist at the University of Tasmania, believes that it is the DPIPWE’s fault. They should have monitored the penguin population on the island better.
Unfortunately, they were not the only victims. The devils also preyed on the short-tailed shearwaters and other birds on the island.
According to The Guardian, in 2011, the DPIPWE issued a report before introducing the Tasmanian devils to Maria Island, predicting that they will harm the tiny penguin and shearwater species.
However, in an effort to rescue the famous Tasmanian devils from the facial tumour illness, the decision to transport them to Maria Island was still made. Even though the introduction has caused significant ecological harm, there is still optimism that the situation can be resolved.
Removing the devils from the island increases the likelihood that the tiny penguins will come back home, as they are only reacting to predatory threats. Still, no such plans have been made yet.