LISTEN

Listen to Episode 10 of Voice of Real Australia: Tasmanian devils released in the Barrington Tops, and Strahan's record pilot whale stranding

The Tasmanian Devil is under serious threat in its home ranges. Devil Facial Tumor Disease has killed thousands of them, reducing populations by up to 90 per cent since it was discovered in the late 1990s.

Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner says devils can help keep fox and feral cat numbers down.

Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner says devils can help keep fox and feral cat numbers down.

But, in the alpine wilderness of Barrington Tops National Park a few hours north of Newcastle, in NSW's Hunter region, an insurance colony of devils is thriving. Hundreds live in spacious enclosures, thanks to Aussie Ark, enjoying the Tasmania-like climate of the Tops.

"Tassie, you go for a walk through the bush and you hear these sounds of our small mammals. Something's gone very right down there, and we want in on that," says Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner.

Last year Aussie Ark released 26 devils into the wild. It's the first population on the mainland since they were wiped out 3000 years ago.

Aussie Ark released 26 devils into a wild sanctuary in the Barrington Tops. PHOTO: Simon McCarthy

Aussie Ark released 26 devils into a wild sanctuary in the Barrington Tops. PHOTO: Simon McCarthy

In the 10th episode of the Voice of Real Australia podcast we visited the devils in their new home to find out about the importance of the Barrington Devils.

Whale tragedy

The Strahan whale stranding was the largest in Australian history with 470 pilot whales beached. PHOTO: Brodie Weeding

The Strahan whale stranding was the largest in Australian history with 470 pilot whales beached. PHOTO: Brodie Weeding

Also in the 10th episode we went to explore why whale stranding's happen and what it was like during the gruelling rescue effort of Australia's largest whale stranding in recorded history.

When hundreds of pilot whales became beached in the shallow waters near Strahan on Tasmania's rugged west coast last September it made international headlines.

Strahan has a permanent population of about 650 people. The former port town sits on Macquarie Harbour which is six times the size of Sydney Harbour. It's a base camp for west coast wilderness tourism and boasts a rich convict history.

On September 21, 2020, an estimated 470 pilot whales became beached across Macquarie Harbour, Betsie Bay and Ocean Beach. Only 111 could be saved.

Tune in to the podcast to find out the impact on the town, the rescuers and why the stranding happened.

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your preferred podcast platform. Just search Voice of Real Australia.

Get the transcript.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page, and sign up for the newsletter.

Do you have a story to share? Get in touch: voice@austcommunitymedia.com.au.

This story Devils make a comeback on the mainland first appeared on Newcastle Herald.