Save the Tasmanian Devil

The Peel Zoo Foundation Is Helping to Save The Tasmanian Devil

Devils Need Angels (DNA)

Are you an Angel? Because if you are,the Peel Zoo Foundation could really use your help to care for some little Devils.

A Tasmanian Devils with advanced symptoms of the DFTD. This image was published in a Public Library of Science journal: To Lose Both Would Look Like Carelessness: Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease. McCallum H, Jones M, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/10/2006, e342. It is published here under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

Devils Need Angels is the fundraising campaign to save the endangered Tasmanian Devil, managed by the Peel Zoo Foundation. All funds go to support the much needed captive breeding of Tasmanian Devils at the Peel Zoo Devil Haven and associated public awareness activities.

The DNA campaign plays a vital role in the provision of care and housing for the “insurance” population of Tasmanian Devils, quarantined on mainland Australia, away from the devastating effects  of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

The Devastation

Tasmanian Devils are endangered in their native Tasmania. DFTD has devastated the wild population. The Devil is now listed as Endangered by Federal and State governments. It is also on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). In short, the species is vulnerable to extinction.

DFTD, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head, was first observed in 1996. The positioning of the tumours restricts a Devil’s ability to eat. A few months after the tumours become visible, infected Devils usually starve to a slow and painful death.

DFTD is present across more than 80% of Tasmania. In fact, in some areas, the wild population of Devils has declined by up to 95%. That means the population has fallen from 250 000 in 1996, to an estimated 15 000 in 2011.

Little is known about DFTD, other than the fact that it spreads like a contagious disease. It appears to pass from one Devil to another when saliva is exchanged while biting.

At present, there is no cure for the disease and no way of stopping it devastating the native stocks in Tasmania.

The Solution

At least for now, the only way to save Tasmanian Devils is through captive breeding of quarantined “insurance” populations. Since April 2010, one such population has existed at Peel Zoo, Western Australia.

Originally Peel Zoo was home to 4 Tasmanian Devils, 1 male and 3 females. However, the population peaked at 19, before some animals were supplied to other Zoos. Such phenomenal success places Peel Zoo at the forefront of Devil breeding in Australia.

The Conclusion

According to the official Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, “it costs around $7,000 to house one devil for one year at a zoo.” With a population of 19, that equates to $133 000 invested by Peel Zoo into this program. That’s not bad for a small family owned Zoo. However, all support is greatly appreciated.


You can donate money to the Peel Zoo Foundation using the PayPal button below.

Alternatively, please contact David Cobbold at the Foundation (0400 788 289).
Thank You.