Auckland Zoo is delighted to welcome two young Tasmanian devils today as part of Australia’s Tasmanian Devil Ambassador Program for this endangered species that is under threat from the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
Three-year-old males Levi and Smiley, captive bred as part of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’s (STDP) Insurance Population, arrived early this morning accompanied by STDP team leader, David Schaap.
Levi and Smiley are now in quarantine at the Zoo’s Tasmanian devil exhibit in an enclosure adjoining the Zoo’s elderly male, six-year-old Herod. (Tasmanian devils live on average, just five years, and Herod is the last of four ambassador devils that arrived at the Zoo in 2014).
David Schaap, who will help the Zoo’s Carnivore team settle the two devils in over the next few weeks, says the Ambassador Program, established in 2013, is integral to the success of the STDP.
“Having devils at world-class zoos like Auckland Zoo enables us to raise awareness and interest in these unique animals. This in turn is helping us towards achieving our ultimate conservation goal to preserve both captive and wild devils,” says David. “On a practical level, being able to move devils from Tasmania to other zoos is extremely important as it helps free up valuable space so we can keep breeding devils to ensure a big enough captive population that is healthy and self-sustaining.”