Iron mines imperil the Tasmanian devil

Iron ore mines slated for development in Tasmania's Tarkine region could imperil the survival of the only robust Tasmanian devil population still left in the wild.

The Australian reports that Hamish McCallum, head of the School of Environment at Griffith University and former chief scientist of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, has said that the mines will threaten the very survival of Tasmanian devil populations in the area.

Western Australia's Venture Minerals obtained a lease to mine for hematite in the Tarkine Region at the end of May 2012, and expects to obtain final approvals for the mine prior to the year's end

Scott Jordan from the Tarkine national Coalition has accused Resources Minister Bryan Green of fast-tracking the mining lease, and proposes that the area be made a World Heritage site.

Images published by the Australian attest to the existence of significant numbers of the Tasmanian Devil in the area of the mining leases, and also show that the animals are free of a malignant facial tumour which has already wiped out 80% of the species.