Tumor-Stricken Tasmanian Devils Now 'Endangered'

Australia ups protections for devastated, iconic species
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 22, 2009 9:31 AM CDT
Tex, a Tasmanian Devil, reacts in his enclosure at Sydney's Taronga Zoo Friday, Oct. 17, 2008   (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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(Newser) – The Tasmanian devil, the iconic inhabitant of the island off Australia and the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, is now officially endangered, reports the BBC. Under attack by a virulent disease characterized by facial tumors, the devil population may be as low as 20,000, down 70% since the mid-1990s. The new status of endangered—changed from "vulnerable"—gives the animals extra protections under Australian law.