Save The Devils

Thursday, 10 April 2008, 4:57 pm
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When I told people I was going to Tasmania often the first thing they’d say is “oh! the Tasmanian Devil!”

Taz, the Warner Brother’s cartoon character, while based on the real thing, lacks some of the charm of the actual Tasmanian Devils. They’re small marsupials with pointy little teeth and a howling cry that no doubt inspired a fear of the devil in the first settlers on Tasmania. These little devils are carnivorous, but don’t worry, they only eat things that are already dead. They’re less of a threat to us than we are to them.

But the biggest threat to the Devil these days is a virulent form of cancer that’s wiped out half the population in just eight years. This cancer is spread during play and mating and is always fatal.

Tasmanians have mounted an effort to save the Devil at www.tassiedevil.com.au. The prints we sell at our reception Sunday from 5-7p at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart will benefit the Save the Devil program.

I took these pictures at Devils@Cradle. That’s Chris, non-chalantly holding a 10-month-old devil. We were warned to keep our fingers away, but they do appear pretty cuddly.

This little guy isn’t mad, he’s just yawning. They do that when they get nervous. Believe it or not, the Devils (even these human raised fellas) are pretty shy.

More pictures from our travels around Tazzie are up at the gallery at www.xyzadventures.com/galleries, and, of course, I’ve posted a ton more shots on my SmugMug page. We’re off to see the rain forest, then tonight it’s caves.

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7 Responses to “Save The Devils”

  1. Tim Gillin on April 10th, 2008 7:49 pm

    The fear is that the Tasmanian Devil will go the same way as the now (most probably) extinct Tasmanian Tiger. (Some people claim to have seen them in Western Tasmania). There is Youtube footage of the last Tasmanian Tiger in captivity on Youtube (see here). That was filmed in the 1930s. The Tiger was not a dog or in any way a member of the dog / wolf / dingo family. Dogs are, like humans, placental mammals. The Tasmanian Tiger, like the Devil or the Kangaroo, are marsupials. The Tasmanian Tiger is a remarkable example of convergent or parallel evolution. You and I are more closely related (biologically) to dogs than dogs are to the Tiger. The Echidna photographed by Leo earlier is an even more remarkable example of convergence. It looks like a (placental) Hedgehog but it is an egg laying mammal, a monotreme. The monotreme class has only two members, the Echidna and the Platypus. When the first Platypus pelts reached Europe they were considered to be frauds as animal like that was considered impossible.

  2. Jonathan on April 11th, 2008 12:15 am

    What a handsome little thing! Great photos from Taz, keep them coming Leo :-)

  3. rdiggle on April 11th, 2008 4:07 am

    Wow. You managed to get a picture of one of these things! When I tried they wouldn’t stop running around.

  4. Bruce Moyle on April 11th, 2008 8:34 pm

    Hey Leo,

    If you are in Launceston tonight, let me buy you a drink. Send me an email or a tweet (bmoyle). Love to have a chat before you head south again.

  5. Angle on April 11th, 2008 9:20 pm

    Looks a lot like my MinPin.

  6. scott on April 13th, 2008 12:53 am

    Great shots Leo. Funny, the Tasmanian Devil looks nothing like the cartoon character. It’s sad to see the worlds creatures in danger of extinction. As humans, I think we are ultimately responsible to care for the planet. I actually didn’t know they were in danger until I read your blog. I think this is proof that the net and blogging are a great way to get a message out.

    P.S. I love your netcasts. I have been a fan since “The Screensavers”

    Scott

  7. sjefen6 on April 13th, 2008 5:08 pm

    http://mine.icanhascheezburger.com/View.aspx?ciid=951004
    The image of the Tasmanian devil on lolcatz

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