Individual study: Sympathy for the devil: Captive-management style did not influence survival, body-mass change or diet of Tasmanian devils 1 year after wild release
Rogers T., Fox S., Pemberton D. & Wise P. (2016) Sympathy for the devil: Captive-management style did not influence survival, body-mass change or diet of Tasmanian devils 1 year after wild release. Wildlife Research, 43, 544-552
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Captive rear in large enclosures prior to release
A controlled study in 2012–2015 on a forested island in Tasmania, Australia (Rogers et al. 2016) found that Tasmanian devils Sarcophilus harrisii reared free-range in large enclosures did not have greater post-release survival rates and body weight gains compared to animals from intensively managed captive-rearing facilities. Survival of animals reared in free-range enclosures (eight of nine animals survived ≥825 days after release) did not differ from that of those reared in intensive captive facilities (18 of 19 survived ≥825 days after release). Free-range enclosure animals did not gain more body weight than did intensive captive facility animals over 440 days post-release (average 14% gain across all animals). Twenty-eight adult (c.1 year old) Tasmanian devils (13 females, 15 males) were released. Nine had been reared in free-range enclosures (22-ha pens) and 19 in intensive captive rearing facilities (which included zoos and hand-rearing).
(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)