Articles across the mainstream media have appeared today, referencing a research project by Thomas Britz and ecologists from UNSW BEES and University of Tasmania.
The project proposes to re-introduce Tasmanian Devils to the eco-systems of the south-eastern Australian mainland. The objective is to protect the native fauna from the devastating impact of cats and foxes in recent years, allowing the Devils the role of apex predator. It also aims to save the Tasmanian Devil from imminent extinction. However, Australia has a disastrous track record of environmental tinkering, so it was prudent to evaluate the impact of reintroducing the Devils.
To do so, mathematical modelling was used by Dr Britz, and the outcomes are exactly what the ecologists were hoping for: cats and foxes would be curbed; ecological balance would be restored; and Devils would thrive without themselves becoming pests.
The research was undertaken by Daniel Hunter, Thomas Britz, Menna Jones and Mike Letnic.
Daniel Hunter, who is studying his PhD under Associate Professor Mike Letnic (from UNSW BEES, and a 2013 Eureka Prize winner), is an independent filmmaker, and has won numerous awards for River Dog and other documentary films. The present project is the subject of his recent documentary, Battle in the Bush.
(The research was mentioned again in November 2015 in SMH)
(Pictured: Dr Thomas Britz)