Tasmanian devil returns to mainland Australia after 3,000 years

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Chris Hemsworth and his wife, Elsa Pataky, helped release the animals into a sanctuary in Australia.
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Thor actor Chris Hemsworth joined conservationists for a historic moment in his homeland of Australia, where they re-introduced the Tasmanian devil to the mainland for the first time in an estimated 3,000 years.

Hemsworth and his wife, Elsa Pataky, released a pair of devils named Lenny and Lisa into a New South Wales wildlife sanctuary on Sept. 10, as part of a larger effort to restore the endangered species to its former home.

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky release two Tasmanian devils into the wilds of Australia in this Sept. 10 photo. Aussie Ark/Handout

A total of 26 Tasmanian devils have been re-introduced into the area north of Sydney as part of a joint effort by the NGOs Aussie Ark, WildArk and Global Wildlife Conservation. The animals were selected from Aussie Ark's "insurance population" of Tasmanian devils, which have been bred over 10 years to ensure the species' survival.

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The apex predators are expected to help rebalance the regional ecosystem by curbing the populations of smaller animals, such as cats and foxes. They're also a sort of clean-up crew for nature, as they're known to scavenge dead animals for food.

"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," said…
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