As of 2014, Tasmanian devils live only on the island of Tasmania in all areas except for the highest altitudes. They commonly live in forests and coastal woodlands in eastern and northwestern Tasmania, especially in areas where rainfall is sparse or modest. They prefer open, dry forests over dense, moist ones. Their lowest numbers are in the southwest area of the island, particularly in the button grass plains.
Tasmanian devils used to live all over Australia. It is believed that the Tasmanian devil population began diminishing approximately 3,000 years ago when dingoes and indigenous humans became more prominent in Australia. In the 1800s, Tasmanian devils were hunted by farmers because they were considered to be pests. The farmers were concerned that the Tasmanian devils were consuming valuable resources, such as livestock and fur-bearing animals.
In 1941, laws were put in place to protect Tasmanian devils although they are still endangered as of 2014. Declining Tasmanian devil populations are due mainly to a fatal form of cancer called devil facial tumor disease. This prominent disease forms lumps near the animal's mouth, which prevents it from being able to eat. Because they often feed on road kill, Tasmanian devils are also susceptible to death by automotive vehicles.