To a lot of people outside Australia, particularly in the USA, the name ‘Tasmanian Devil’ most likely conjures up images of the Bugs Bunny Show, where a cartoon tornado would whirl into view and out would pop a growling, snarling, crazy beast!
Native to the island of Tasmania, the real-life Tasmanian Devil has, like it’s cartoon cousin, a reputation for being snarly and cantankerous – although this is more myth than anything else, as Devils would rather flee than attack humans. An iconic Australian native, the Tazzy Devil is, sadly, quickly becoming endangered, due to a rare form of facial tumour that has spread like wildfire through the Tasmanian Devil population.
First seen in 1996, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) has ravaged Tasmania’s wild Devils, with over 65% of the state affected. As a result of the deadly ailment, experts estimate that the Tasmanian Devil population has declined by 20% to 50%. The disease is an example of a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another.
The Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary focuses on Tasmania’s three carnivorous marsupials, concentrating primarily on the Tasmanian Devil but including both the Eastern and Spotted-tail Quoll. The Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary breeding program is vital to the long term conservation of the Tasmanian Devil, which is now threatened by Facial Tumour Disease. The program aims at sustainable breeding of this small but fearsome marsupial, with the intention of release into the wild. For further information, see www.devilsatcradle.com.
Downies is the proud sponsor of ‘Mortimer’, a young Tasmanian Devil at the Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary. We encourage our valued clients to visit the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary website and take part in this worthwhile conservation program.