Deadly Tumor Drives Tasmanian Devils To The Verge Of ExtinctionJanuary 20th, 2011 - 6:17 pm ICT by GD
By Gina Gomez
Jan 20, (THAINDIAN NEWS) The Tasmanian devils are on the verge of extinction after a deadly facial tumor has killed a large number of animals belonging to the species, reducing its population at an alarming rate. A study that was recently published in the magazine Scientific American revealed that the population of the species has decreased by 90 per cent over the last few years and at present there are only 2,000 Tasmanian devils living in the forests.
The condition which has led to the sharp dip in the population of the animals is known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) which was identified for the very first time in the year 1996. Since then, the cancerous condition has affected significant number of Tasmanian devils in the wild while their number has been decreasing extensively since March last year. Despite the fact that the disease was identified more than a decade ago, till now scientists have not found much success in deciphering a treatment for the cancerous condition which triggers the development of large tumors on the face, head or jaws of the animal. Further adding to the woes of the researchers, over the years, the ailments has undergone mutation to 13 different kinds of strains which has made the job of finding a cure for it all the more difficult.
David Schapp, who owns a Tasmanian devil breeding facility has noted that one of the bittersweet aspects of the current situation is that the animals would go extinct due to the cancerous condition and when that happens, the disease would also die with them.
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