September, 2023

 

Do you know why National Threatened Species Day is on September 7th? 

It’s the day that the last Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) died in captivity at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart. It was 1936 and you may have seen David Fleay’s famous black and white footage of the last captive animal, anxiously pacing it’s barren cage. It's a stark reminder of why we need to do all we can to protect endangered animals now and into the future.

As we know - we are still putting animals at risk. 

Today, many of our threatened species are under increasing pressure from habitat destruction as well as climate change fueled bushfires and floods, as well as dangers encountered on our roads. 

This is the time of year when young devils have left the safety of their mother’s pouch and are out exploring so, 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 Sanctuary (TAS).

We all have a part to play in the protection of the Tasmanian devil - and all of our native fauna. 

 

Good news thanks to you.

What a difference a year makes!

This time last year we were looking for volunteers to help complete construction if our new vaccine testing facility. We are delighted to report that the facility is almost complete.

You may recall that we are moving to a new site - and there is no doubt that this has been a massive community effort. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters who made construction possible: 

  • Our army of volunteers who gave up their time, getting their hands dirty in all sorts of weather;
  • Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for providing the site for the facility;
  • Stephen Little Construction for transport of salvaged materials from Fern Tree to the new site;
  • Hanson Concrete for donating concrete for the pens;
  • Lysaght for generous discounts on fencing materials;
  • Wildseed Tasmania have donated native plants for the enclosures that will provide shade; 
  • Ray Russell, our volunteer construction project manager;
  • The very supportive team at Menzies Research Institute and
  • Of course a huge thank you to Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal donors

This project is a brilliant example of what is possible when a community that cares comes together. Without your critical support the project would still be at the drawing board. In fact, it may not have gotten off the ground at all! 

We look forward to sharing our Grand Opening date with you. 

 

Meet our New Friend Ranger Ken

We welcome our new friends Krome Studios to Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal Community. Located in Brisbane, Krome are the creators of TY the Tasmanian Tiger game series.

To coincide with National Threatened Species Day on September 7th, Krome is donating 5% of net receipts from digital sales of ALL TY the Tasmanian Tiger games sold from September 4th to September 10th to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.  

Their efforts will be championed by environmentally conscious Ranger Ken, a Tasmanian Devil, who is a member of the Bush Rescue Team in the TY the Tasmanian Tiger series.  

Ranger Ken and his friends have been around since 2002, and have amassed a huge following. If you would you like to see Ranger Ken and TY1 in action? Check them out here.

Thank you to everyone at Krome. We're so happy to have you on board with this brilliant initiative - and Ranger Ken! 

If you are interested in downloading the game and supporting the Devil Appeal game, please go here. 

 

Citizen Science in action

University of Tasmania's Dr Rodrigo Hamede has been researching the Tasmanian Devil for 17 years. 

He has watched the deadly DFTD destroy 60-70% of the Devil population and now he is now witnessing the spread of DFT2. While these cancers have similar names, they are totally different. “DFTD evolved from a female in northeastern Tasmania almost 30 years ago, whilst DFT2 evolved from a male near Cygnet in southeastern Tasmania almost 10 years ago. However, they are both fatal cancers threatening devil populations," he said. 

Until recently, DFT2 was confined to the d’Entrecasteaux channel peninsula in southeastern Tasmania. Unfortunately, it is on the move. 

In order to keep in front of the spread of the disease, Rodrigo and his team will be calling upon property owners in the Kingborough and Huon areas to assist with the research. "We need permission to set traps for the devils on private property. We then return to the area in ten days. If there is a devil in the trap we check it for tumours and take samples. The helps us to work out how fast the disease is spreading". 

The team repeat this process every three months. It's labour intensive and expensive work. 

Currently, there are over 350 property owners in the d’Entrecasteaux channel and Huon Valley region who are participating in Rodrigo’s research. Now, as the program expands to follow the epidemic frontline of DFT2 in real time, the work will dramatically increase. 

There is good news! Recent work in the team had has found it is possible to monitor disease prevalence with high-definition camera traps on a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year basis.

Prof Barry Brook from the University of Tasmania's School of Natural Sciences is developing automated machine learning algorithms that allow identifying if devils have tumours or not. The next step is training the algorithm to differentiate DFTD from DFT2. The camera traps will help us to identify disease hot spots, and target our DFT2 live trapping epidemiological surveys in real time.  

The cameras cost around $180 each, and 100 cameras are needed to get the work underway. It will be a big step forward - and hopefully one that will lead to evaluate the spread and impact of DFT2 and assess future conservation strategies. 

"Thanks to the generous support of the community we have come this far. Every dollar counts – together, we will protect this tough, top predator Tasmanian icon", says Rodrigo. 

Would you like to learn more about Rodrigo's research?

 

Do you have one of our donation boxes? 

Are you one of the many businesses across the country hosting one of these fabulous black boxes?

Have you been collecting loose change (and folding notes too!) from your thoughtful customers and staff? 

A reminder that all you need to do to bank the donations is to take the box to any Commonwealth Bank and deposit directly into the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal account with the number of your box. Drop us an email at devil.appeal@utas.edu.au if you've misplaced the account details or if you'd like a new box. 

Thank you for your support!

 

Co-editors donate proceeds of book sales to Save the Devil Appeal

As September 7th is National Threatened Species Day and the anniversary of the death of the last thylacine, we received a timely donation from Branden Holmes and Gareth Linnard. 

Branden and Garth have donated the proceeds of their co-edited book, Tylacine: The History, Ecology and Loss of the Tasmanian Tiger.

With 78 contributors across nine chapters, this book brings us up to date with the latest research into the species. While the thylacine has been extinct since 1936, investigation into the life and demise of this unique animal has been ongoing.  

Apart from being Tasmanian icons, what do the Tasmanian devil and the thylacine have in common? "Both species have historically had an undeservedly poor reputation, with very early colonial newspaper articles sometimes referring to them as “vermin” even though they are native species!" says Branden. 

"We wanted to try and leverage public interest in the thylacine to raise funds for the Tasmanian devil (the next largest carnivorous marsupial) to help prevent its extinction. The effort to get the book published was split between many individuals, and so the book’s royalties should reflect this collective goal to make a help make a difference."

We thank Branden and Gareth for their thoughtful contribution to the Appeal.  

 

Donations come flying in!

a boy and his devil

Did you know that Launceston Airport (TAS) welcomes more than 1.2 million travellers every year? 

It's an amazing number for a state of just under 250,000!

In this busy airport, you see two smiling devils (one pictured here with a cuddly friend). These lucky devils are the collection points for donations to our Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal

We have recently collected donations totaling an extraordinary $3,476.45 from generous visitors to the airport. Thank you!

Thank you to our friends at Launceston Airport for letting our devils promote our appeal - and collect much needed and appreciated funds. 

 

Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal: 2023 update

In May we launched our annual end-of-financial year appeal. As we have seen in this edition of Devil's Advocate there are many ways to raise funds for the program, and we are extremely fortunate to have an engaged and caring community - across the globe - who are willing to do what they can to keep improving the health and wellbeing of our devil.

To date, the 2023 appeal has raised $58,300 and while this is a magnificent effort, we are still behind our annual target of $75,000.

We thank all our wonderful donors who make the critical work of our researchers possible. We are truly making progress, and while it is a privilege to share good news we do have a way to go. 

We are making progress with a vaccine and we are working hard to keep ahead of the spread of DRF-1 and DFT-2. We have come this far, thanks to the generosity of our global community. 

Together, we can go even further.

 
 

Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal
Private Bag 40
HOBART TAS 7001 | Phone +61 3 6226 1920

devil.appeal@ut‚Äčas.edu.au | utas.edu.au/devil 

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