Known for their feisty demeanor, Tasmanian Devil babies show quite another side. These cheeky little devils are joeys from Australia's Devil Ark, the largest conservation breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil on mainland Australia. The iconic Tasmanian marsupial is at serious risk of extinction from the highly contagious Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). Devil Ark's ambitious breeding program might be the key to its survival. It's believed that in the next 20 years the Tasmanian Devil could be extinct on Tasmania due to DFTD's rampant effects. Since its discovery in 1996, numbers of wild devils have plummeted across Tasmania, and in some areas, more than 85% of the wild population is now extinct.
So it is a battle against time! Now genetic diversity is also rapidly diminishing in Tasmania, so at Devil Ark, they are racing to breed large numbers of devils to preserve the species. There are currently more than 120 devils at the Ark and the goal is to have 360 individuals there by 2016.
Tasmanian Devils are known for their fierce demeanor, but watch these babies nursing and playing and you'll see a different side!
Read much more about Devil Ark and the important work they are doing below the fold:
Devil Ark is the most extensive and important breeding program in Australia for these animals, set up to breed an ‘insurance’ population of Tasmanian Devils. It is an initiative of the Australian Reptile Park, in partnership with Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME), Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) and the Zoos and Aquarium Association (ZAA).
Located at an altitude of 1,350 meters in the Barrington Tops, Devil Ark provides the perfect breeding environment for Devils. The Tasmanian-like vegetation and cool, wet and snowy conditions means the Devils feel right at home!
Eventually Devil Ark will have a population of 1,000 or more Tasmanian Devils. There are currently 140 adults there now. Ark's dedicated, resident keepers are there around the clock to manage the hundreds of large enclosures where the Devils can range in natural bushland conditions in a climate similar to that in Tasmania. The devils will live in these 'Tasmania-like' conditions while the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease runs its devastating course through the wild population of Devils in Tasmania. Devil Ark aims to raise awareness and funding in order to avert extinction of the Devil.
Devil Ark relies on community support and donations to give hope to the Tasmanian devil. For more behind the scenes activity from devil ark please visit their YouTube Channel.