There are 24 species of native land mammals found in the Tarkine, more than two thirds of Tasmania’s entire native mammal species – and more than found in other protected areas in Tasmania such as the Upper Henty and the Gordon River. The Tarkine’s native mammal species include the platypus, echidna, six marsupial carnivores, the common wombat, two species of bandicoot, five possums and gliders, three macropods, four species of rat and mice and one bat species.

Tasmania’s three largest predators in order of decreasing size, are the Tasmanian Devil, the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and the Eastern Quoll – and the presence of all of these top predators in the Tarkine is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

Currently there is an epidemic of viral cancer in populations of Tasmanian Devil, which have decimated populations of Devil across other parts of the state, particularly in Eastern Tasmania. This Devil Facial Tumour Disease has been so devastating that it threatens the entire species’ existence. However, populations of the Tasmanian Devil in the Tarkine continue to be healthy and unaffected by the disease, and the Tarkine is becoming an increasingly vital refuge. Listed as vulnerable nationally, the Spotted-tailed Quoll requires extensive areas of relatively undisturbed wet forest and suitable prey for its survival, and Tasmania is the global stronghold of the Spotted-tailed Quoll, with the wet forests of the Arthur River catchment core habitat. The smaller Eastern Quoll is relatively scarce in the Tarkine. The Tarkine also provides important habitat and is home for a number of other mammals, such as the Swamp Antechinus, Dusky Antechinus, White-footed Dunnart, long-tailed mouse, Ringtail possum, Pigmy Possum, Long-nosed potoroo, and two species of bandicoot.

The Tarkine’s size, naturalness and habitat diversity make it an outstanding refuge with the ability to maintain evolutionary and ecological processes and species diversity. It is an outstanding and fragile storehouse for many of Tasmania’s unique and threatened plants and animals.

A refuge for the Devil

The Tarkine is the home to the last disease free population of the Tasmanian Devil. The Tasmanaian Devil is being pushed to extinction by the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease. This disease has been estimated to have killed 80% of the Tasmanian Devil population in the past decade. As such the habitat of the Tarkine is critical to survival of this iconic species in the wild. Threats such as mining, logging and roading place the future of the Devil at risk.

New mines for the Tarkine?

New mines are being proposed for the Tarkine, and the campaign to prevent this onslaught of destruction is heating up. Many of these mines are Pilbara style open cut mines. Early successes in this campaign have seen off mine proposals at Keith River, Riley Creek and Nelson Bay River, but Venture Minerals are intending to press ahead with their proposed tin mine at Mt Lindsay. We will continue the fight to prevent this tragedy.