- Created on Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:20
- Written by NAPSI
San Diego, California - Four Tasmanian devils in their new exhibit were unveiled this morning at the San Diego Zoo following an opening ceremony attended by Zoo officials and Australian dignitaries.
Rick Gulley, chairman of San Diego Zoo Global’s board of trustees, welcomed Australian Brian Wightman, MP, minister for environment, parks and heritage in Tasmania, and Karen Lanyon, consul-general, Australian Consulate General, during the opening ceremony where Alistair Scott, general manager of resource management and conservation for Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, also spoke.
“Given that the San Diego Zoo receives a huge number of visitors each year, there are likely to be significant benefits for expanding global awareness and increasing the potential for fundraising support for the Program,” said Wightman, referring to Tasmania’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. “Furthermore, the San Diego Zoo has a proven track record in species conservation management and is committed to delivering practical benefits for on-ground conservation activities in Australia.”
Tasmanian devils Conrad, Debbie, Nick and Jake have completed a mandatory 30-day quarantine after their arrival from the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia earlier this month. They are now in the Conrad Prebys Australian Outback and visible for guests to see. The San Diego Zoo is currently the only zoo in the U.S. with Tasmanian devils, making these newest additions extremely significant.
Tasmanian devils are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are native to the island state of Tasmania, which is part of Australia, where they live in forest, woodland and agricultural areas. Tasmanian devils are nocturnal hunters and use their keen senses of smell and hearing to find prey or carrion. They can give off a fierce snarl and high-pitched scream, which can be heard at feeding time, to establish dominance.
Tasmanian devils face extinction in the wild due to devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), a rare, contagious cancer found only in devils. DFTD is transmitted from one animal to another through biting, a common behavior among devils when mating and feeding. The disease kills all infected devils within 6 to 12 months and there is no known cure or vaccine. The four Tasmanian devils at the San Diego Zoo are free of this disease.
The San Diego Zoo is a proud partner of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program based in Tasmania. The program collaborates with research institutes and zoos around the world to save the endangered Tasmanian devil. For more information on the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, go to www.tassiedevil.com.au
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is a government initiative established in 2003 in response to the threat of Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Its mission is to combat the epidemic to ensure the survival of the Tasmanian devil and achieve the endangered species' recovery in the wild as an ecologically functioning entity.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The Conservancy makes possible the wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.