Tasmania (abbreviated as Tas or Tassie) is located 240km to the south of the Australian continent, separated by the Bass Strait.
Tasmania is promoted as the natural state, the "Island of Inspiration", and A World Apart, Not A World Away owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 37% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites.
Geographically and genetically isolated, Tasmania is known for its unique flora and fauna. Tasmania has extremely diverse vegetation, from the heavily grazed grassland of the dry Midlands to the tall evergreen eucalypt forest, alpine heathlands and large areas of cool temperate rainforests and moorlands in the rest of the state.
Many flora species are unique to Tasmania, and some are related to species in South America and New Zealand through ancestors which grew on the super continent of Gondwana, 50 million years ago. The island of Tasmania was home to the Thylacine, a marsupial which resembled a wild dog. Known colloquially as the Tasmanian Tiger for the distinctive striping across its back, it became extinct in mainland Australia much earlier because of competition by the dingo, introduced in prehistoric times. Owing to persecution by farmers, government-funded bounty hunters and, in the final years, collectors for overseas museums, it appears to have been exterminated in Tasmania.
The Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936, and is now found in the wild only in Tasmania.