After eight weeks settling in to their new home, our four Tasmanian devil joeys are becoming bolder. The three males and the little female have been moved into the Urban Impact enclosure at the Tasmanian Devil Breeding Centre. Like all Tasmanian Devils, the joeys were shy and reclusive after being separated from their mum, Nina, and going on display for the first time.
The joeys were the first born at the Zoo this breeding season. When we checked their sex everyone was very happy to see that there was a female, as they are crucial for the success of the on-going breeding programme of the Tasmanian Devil.
Tasmanian Devils are now listed as endangered. The species is under threat because of a contagious cancer which causes fatal facial tumours. After contracting the disease, devils usually do not live much longer than six months. Field studies of wild Tasmanian Devils have shown a dramatic fall in population numbers since this disease emerged in 1996.
The current state of the Tasmanian Devil population makes the birth of these four joeys even more important. After a shy start they are now putting in a big effort representing this endangered carnivorous marsupial.
The 11.30am Talk is a perfect time to see the joeys. There is a great chance you’ll see them all out bickering and scuffling over a group feed. At other times, you can see one or all of them basking together in a sunny patch, cooling off in the pond or snoozing in their viewing den.
By Tony Britt-Lewis, Tasmanian Devil Keeper