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The Tasmanian Devil

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The latest NPR/National Geographic Radio Expedition is to the island of Tasmania to meet the legendary Tasmanian devil. This ferocious animal, named for its nasty disposition and island of origin, is -- unlike the Warner Brothers cartoon character -- a small, black marsupial that walks on four legs. Roughly the size of a large beagle, the devil is characterized by its sharp teeth, aggressive stance and voracious appetite.

Tasmanian devils are found only on Tasmania, an island off the southern coast of Australia. And surprisingly, their population is increasing. Wildlife experts believe there are more devils alive now than there were before the introduction of roads and cars. A major reason for the population boom is industrialization, a phenomenon that normally destroys native species. The Tasmanian devil has adapted to development by turning to a new food source -- roadkill.

National Geographic photographer David Doubilet journeyed to Tasmania and spoke to John and Carolyn Hamilton, proprietors of a local wildlife center where orphaned and injured devils are taken in, rehabilitated, and when possible, released.

Tasmanian Devil The Tasmanian Devil



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