BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae, now found in the wild only on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The size of a small dog, it became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is characterized by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odor, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. Because they were seen as a threat to livestock and animals that humans hunted for fur in Tasmania, devils were hunted and became endangered. In 1941, the devils, which were originally seen as implacably vicious, became officially protected. Since the late 1990s, devil facial tumor disease has drastically reduced the devil population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered. Taken from The wild beasts of the world by Frank Finn; illustrated.
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