actor joined conservationists at Aussie Ark for a historic moment in his homeland of Australia, where they reintroduced the Tasmanian devil to the mainland for the first time in an estimated 3,000 years.
Leave it to Thor to help bring back Tasmanian devils to Australia.
Hemsworth and his wife and actress Elsa Pataky helped release a group of 11 Tasmanian devils into a 1,000-acre wildlife sanctuary at Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales on Sept. 10, as part of a crucial effort to restore the endangered species to its former habitat.
“We laid some traps to catch the devils, and then we’re releasing them out into the wild,” Hemsworth said in a YouTube video posted on Monday.
Twenty-six Tasmanian devils will be released this year in total, with 20 more Tasmanian devils planned to be released into the sanctuary in 2021. Each animal being released has on a radio collar so scientists can check up on them and see how the devils are interacting with other wildlife living at the sanctuary.
Tasmanian devils usually bring to mind the Looney Tunes cartoon character that’s always in a constant state of spinning very fast, while salivating looking for food. Unlike their pop culture depictions, Tasmanian devils are the world’s largest surviving marsupial carnivore that looks more like a small dog than a ravenous monster.
Tasmanian devils usually measured around two feet (60 cm) long and weigh around 18 pounds (eight kg).
For the past 10 years, Aussie Ark has been steadily rebuilding the population of Tasmanian devils, as well as learning more about the endangered animals’ reproductive traits, behavior and living environment.
A total of 26 Tasmanian devils have been taken from Tasmania and reintroduced into the area north of Sydney, Australia, as part of a joint effort by Aussie Ark, WildArk and Global Wildlife Conservation, Global News reported on Monday.
“In 100 years, we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country,” Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark, said in a statement.
According to Aussie Ark, Tasmanian devils became extinct on mainland Australia due to competing for resources with the dingoes. Because the dingoes never managed to migrate to the island of Tasmania, the devils were able to thrive without the threat of dingoes.
However, Tasmanian devils were stricken with a fatal disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease that was first described in the 1990s. The disease devastated the Tasmanian devil population on the island so much that it reduced it by an alarming 90%. The Tasmanian devils released on Australia’s mainland are disease-free.
“Not only does the reintroduction bode well for the recovery of the Tasmanian devil, but as native apex predators and the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials, they help control feral cats and foxes that threaten other endangered and endemic species,” the Aussie Ark website stated.