September 2022


In this edition we are delighted to share news of significant grants and additional funding to support research and programs to assist the Tasmanian devil. While it is wonderful to be able to report that the devils’ plight is receiving additional assistance, all our efforts to protect devils from Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) will be in vain unless drivers slow down.

Earlier this month, there were reports that 160 disease free devils had been killed on one 25km stretch of road in just 18 months. This is the time of year when young devils have left the safety of their mother’s pouch and are out exploring. If you are in Tasmania, please slow down on our roads and if you find an injured or orphaned animal, contact your local wildlife rescue organisation such as Bonorong Wildlife Rescue

RFID Image

Honours student on a mission to save roadkill dilemma

In the last edition of Devils’ Advocate we told you about an idea developed by a University of Tasmania Honours student which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags attached to cars to alert animals of approaching vehicles.

Meg Phillips will soon be conducting a stimuli study at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to see what noises get a flight reaction from different Tassie animals and is on track to trial her prototype by the end of 2023. Meg is confident the RFID Roadkill Reducer will address most of the issues with current virtual fence devices and help solve Tasmania’s terrible roadkill dilemma.  Good luck Meg.


Threatened Species Day Catch-up

If you missed our Threatened Species Day webinar “Worshipping the Devil: Securing the future of the iconic Tasmanian devil” featuring Dr Ruth Pye, research veterinarian with the Tasmanian devil immunology group, you’ll be pleased to know it was recorded and you can watch it at your leisure.

Ruth and Dr Andy Flies were also interviewed for the This Medical Life podcast where they revealed that two of the three known transmissible cancers are found in Tassie devils.

Menzies devil research team

Vaccine receives prestigious funding boost

Our devil vaccine team at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research was recently awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant. The funding will support the development of a wildlife health intelligence and vaccine distribution system in collaboration with the department of Natural Resources and the Environment Tasmania, Animal Control Technologies Australia, Wildcare Tasmania, Fortifyedge, and the US Department of Agriculture National Wildlife Research Centre.

The team have also recently contributed to a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Letters in Biomathematics titled Saving the Devils Is in the Details: Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease Can Be Eliminated with Interventions”.

Encouragingly the results suggest that a vaccine delivered in oral baits could eliminate devil facial tumour disease.

Devil vaccine facility

Skilled volunteers needed

We are back on the tools and again looking for volunteers with trade skills and equipment to help complete construction of a new vaccine testing facility just outside of Hobart (site pictured above). If you are willing and able to assist between 17-26 October 2022, please contact Dr Andy Flies on andy.flies@utas​

Saffire guests with devil

Tourists help fund breakthrough research 

Saffire Freycinet and their eco-conscious guests have been helping secure the future of the Tasmanian devil since 2014 and over that time have donated $175,000 towards the development of a vaccine for DFTD. A further $25,000 has been committed over the next two years.

Home to a one-hectare, free-range enclosure, Saffire has five resident devils who retired from the devil breeding program, making the enclosure the most luxurious devil retirement home anywhere in the world.

Errol the devil

Did you see Errol?

Our mascot, Errol the devil, had a very busy month in August. Firstly, he attended the Chocolate Winterfest in Latrobe as a guest of Anvers Chocolate (photographed above hanging with the friendly staff) and then he headed off to AGFEST (below) with Dr Andy Flies to update everyone on the vaccine research being undertaken at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research. 

And he has already managed a visit to Riverside Primary School in northern Tasmania this month!

If you had your photo taken with Errol and would like us to share it, please email us at devil.appeal@ut​

Errol the devil at Agfest

Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal
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HOBART TAS 7001 | Phone +61 3 6226 1920

devil.appeal@ut​ |

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