NINE Tasmanian devil joeys have warmed hearts at a chilly Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in NSW's lower Mid North Coast. Female devils' pouches were checked by Aussie Ark rangers. The nine first arrivals of more than 19 due to arrive over the next few weeks mark the second year of successful wild breeding for the endangered marsupials in the region. The sanctuary in 2020 released 28 devils as part of its push to repopulate the species, decimated by facial tumour disease and other factors in their home state, on the mainland. Breeding in the wild was confirmed last year for the first time, making this season critical. "There is something incredibly special about checking devil pouches every year. Nothing beats peeking into the mother's pouch and seeing that tiny pink joey," " Aussie Ark curator Kelly Davis said. "It's even more special out here in the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, where we know they are living completely wild - without human intervention." The Aussie Ark breeding program began with 44 devils, with more than 200 now living in the mountainous site. The sanctuary says that number is equivalent to about half of the mainland insurance population. IN OTHER NEWS: More than 400 devils have been born and raised on site since 2011. "The success of this project is enormously exciting for both the future of Tassie Devils and the conservation of native wildlife in Australia," WildArk general manager Kirstin Scholtz said. "The work Aussie Ark have done to successfully protect and rewild this iconic species is critical to helping restore ecosystems and end species extinction." Motion sensor cameras will help rangers monitor the devils beyond pouch checks, with juvenile devils expected to start exploring the sanctuary at about six months old.