Think dinner time at your house is an ordeal? Then come and check out our four Tasmanian Devil joeys feeding!
Instinctively Tasmanian Devils are aggressive around food and our four joeys at the Urban Impact enclosure are no different, exhibiting natural behaviours as they tussle over food.
The joeys, three males and one female, were born in March 2011 to Nina and although they look pretty big at the moment, Tasmanian Devils take two years to become fully grown.
Occasionally the scraps and scuffles during feeds end in injury which of course happens in the wild. When the food comes out sibling love is forgotten! One of the joeys has been nicknamed “two-nose” after a squabble left him with a scar over his nose.
Once the food’s finished the joeys are perfectly ‘pleasant’ to each other again. The cold weather especially brings on a truce as they all snuggle up together for warmth in their den which visitors can look into via a glass window.
When the joeys are fully mature they will join the on-going breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil. Tasmanian Devils were listed as Endangered in May 2009, following a population decline of more than 60%.
The major threat to the species is an infectious cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease. After contracting the disease, devils usually do not live much longer than six months.
Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos are working together with other Australian zoos to breed an insurance population of Tasmanian Devils to release into the wild should it become necessary.
The Tasmanian Devil breeding program at the Zoo costs around $210,000 each year just to keep running. Each devil costs around $7,000 to house, feed and look after. Whatever you can afford to give, however small, will help us save species like the Tasmanian Devil from extinction. Donate today at www.taronga.org.au/tassiedevil and help vital programs like the Tasmanian devil breeding program.
Tasmanian Devil dinner time here at Taronga might be getting even bigger this year. Keepers have their fingers crossed that two of our females, Pixi and Nina, have joeys in their pouches! The current state of the Tasmanian Devil population makes the prospect of more joeys even more important.