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National Threatened Species Day

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 4:36pm
tasmanian devil 450w 02.jpg

Did you know Tasmanian Devils patrol an area in a large figure of eight pattern in the wild? And so, with a little poetic license, the legend of the Looney Tunes cartoon character, Taz, spinning around from place to place, was born.

With their large heads, wide jaws and big, sharp teeth, Tasmanian devils are an iconic Australian species. Once widespread across Australia, they are thought to have become extinct after the introduction of the dingo, 3,500 years ago. Now found only in Tasmania, their very existence in the wild is under threat from a disease that’s decimating its numbers – Devil Facial Tumour Disease, or DFTD.

Held on 7 September, National Threatened Species Day is a chance to raise the profile of threatened plants and animals which live in our own backyard. This year we’re focusing on the Tasmanian devil because unless a scientific breakthrough is made it’s a real possibility that they will be extinct in the wild in the next 25 to 30 years.

Zoos SA is playing a key role in the effort to secure long term survival of the species through its involvement in a DFTD research project, and as one of four primary mainland institutions to have an insurance population.

Video of three Tassie Devil joeys born at Monarto Zoo in 2009

There are currently four adult females and six adult males at Monarto Zoo’s native breeding centre and more than 14 young have been bred here since the population was established in 2005. They are off limits to the public but plans are underway to have a Tassie devil exhibit in the near future. In the meantime, if you want to see these amazing creatures in action come along to Adelaide Zoo.

If you want to get involved and support our work with Tasmanian devils you can adopt a devil and do your bit for National Threatened Species Day.


Abby Bowden
PR Manager, Zoos SA


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