Scientists are breeding Tasmanian Devils in captivity to limit the spread of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). This disease is a great threat to Tasmanian devils living in the wild, affecting some two-thirds of the population.
Tasmanian devils are being housed in captive breeding programmes, which should prevent the extinction of the marsupial, but not necessarily in the wild. In January 2010, a team of international scientists pinpointed the genetic marker that predisposes Tasmanian devils towards this fatal disease. With this knowledge, there is now a better chance of a cure, which would also stop the disease decimating the wild Tasmanian devil population.
In addition, the "Save the Tasmanian Devil" was begun, with the objective being to 'maintain an enduring and ecologically functional population of Tasmanian Devils in the wild in Tasmania'. This programme is a joint initiative between the Australian Federal and Tasmanian State governments, together with the University of Tasmania. More sponsorship has come through the car company Suzuki Australia which has developed a is partnership with Zoos Victoria. Suzuki donates an amount from the sale of each Suzuki SUV to help save the Tasmanian Devil.