Furthering a near decade-long commitment to Tasmanian devil conservation, AAT Kings and TreadRight have now announced support for research that may ultimately protect Tasmania’s iconic devils from the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) epidemic currently endangering these animals.
DFTD has ravaged Tasmania's devil population as the aggressive disease, which causes tumours to form in and around the mouth, interfering with feeding and eventually leading to death by starvation, has wiped out more than 80% of the Tasmanian devil population.
The good news is, over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the fight against the disease. An Insurance Population has been established, the impact of the disease in the wild is monitored regulalry, and disease-free facilities to hold the species in wild and semi-wild populations have been built.
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is now conducting population monitoring, field research, and research and development into possible immunization techniques. Researchers are currently looking into developing a vaccine, which has renewed hope that this iconic species can still be saved.
“Our primary focus at the moment is supporting the critical devil vaccine research being undertaken by the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute of Medical Research” said Rebecca Cuthill, Manager, Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.
AAT Kings and TreadRight have committed to fund the management, care and feeding of five "research" devils, which are crucial to understanding how a vaccine against DFTD might work in the wild. Ongoing work with these animals will contribute to help find a disease-free future for the Tasmanian devil.
Anthony Hayes, Managing Director of AAT Kings, commented “Tasmania is a nature lover’s paradise with its lakes and rugged mountains and its native Tasmanian devils are a popular and much adored symbol of the island state. Due to the severity and aggressive nature of DFTD, the survival of this species is under serious threat and we feel passionately about acting now to prevent extinction of a national treasure. We are proud to be a partner with Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal, which invests in a broad range of research and other activities that will, hopefully, enable these animals to thrive in their natural environment for years to come.”
“AAT Kings commitment to fund the management, care and feeding of five devils who are part of the vaccine research work is integral to this projects success. These “research devils” are crucial to understanding how a vaccine against DFTD may work in the wild and will contribute to helping ensure a disease-free future for the Tasmanian devil may be in sight,” added Cuthill.
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