Press Release – Wellington Zoo
Tasmanian Devils are on their way to Wellington for the first time in almost a hundred years, after receiving an import health standard and MPI approval.
Arriving this week, three females and one male will spend seven days in quarantine before being moved into their new home – a specifically constructed exhibit within Neighbours, Wellington Zoo’s Australian walk-through precinct, opened in September.
“Wellington Zoo is a proud partner of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, a Tasmanian government initiative that was established in 2003 in response to the threat of Devil Facial Tumour Disease,” said Amy Hughes, Group Manager Community Engagement.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare contagious cancer that has spread rapidly through wild Tasmanian Devil populations, reducing their numbers by approximately 80%.
“The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is collaborating with research institutes and zoos around the world to combat the epidemic and ensure the survival of the Tasmanian Devil. There are now 550 healthy Tasmanian Devils, an Insurance Population, living in zoos and wildlife parks across Australia – and Wellington Zoo is able to contribute to their conservation by helping to provide space for more healthy Devils,” said Ms Hughes.
Earlier in the year three Wellington Zoo keepers travelled to Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania to complete Tasmanian Devil husbandry training; a prerequisite for institutions housing Devils.
“We focused on developing knowledge and skills to care for Tasmanian Devils, using dynamic husbandry practices to provide the best possible animal care,” said Life Sciences Manager Elise Kovac.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the Program – it’s a great opportunity to be directly involved in Devil conservation, by connecting Wellingtonians with Devils and raising awareness around their plight.”
“These four Devils are fantastic ambassadors for their species, and we’re very excited to be able to share their story with our visitors at Wellington Zoo – who then in turn can get involved and play an active part in their conservation,” added Ms Hughes.
“It’s a very unique opportunity and will be a first for many – this is the first time we’ve had Tasmanian Devils in Wellington since the 1920s. We’re expecting lots of visitors to come in to visit these fascinating animals this summer!”
For more information about the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, go to www.tassiedevil.com.au.
This new exhibit was funded with the generous support of Wellington City Council.