Minister opens Tasmanian Devil exhibit

  • Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the arrival of four new Tasmanian Devils as part of the official opening of a new Devils exhibit at Wellington Zoo.

“Tasmanian Devils are renowned for their big mouths, bad behaviour and noisiness, so they will fit in well with the nation’s politicians in the capital,” Dr Smith says.

“This new exhibit helps the conservation of the Devils, is good for trans-Tasman relations and adds to the attractions at New Zealand’s oldest zoo.

“The Tasmanian Devil got a rough rap with its name and it is not as cute as Australia’s koala or New Zealand’s kiwi. However, it is an iconic species for Tasmania and a unique mammal that we must work to ensure the survival of.

“New Zealand has far more endangered species than Australia and huge experience in saving them from extinction. The Tasmanian Devil population in the wild have decreased by 80 per cent due to the rapid spread of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). It is good for New Zealand to take on four ambassador Devils from the insurance population and raise awareness of the plight facing their species.”

The Save the Tasmanian Devils Programme is an initiative based in the Australian state of Tasmania, and aims to investigate and manage DFTD. The programme collaborates with institutes and zoos around the world, and the four Devils welcomed today in Wellington are part of the programme.

“The aim of the programme is to see the Devils thriving again in the wild. The arrival of these animals and the new exhibit at Wellington Zoo will inform more people about this endangered species,” Dr Smith says.

The Tasmanian Devils exhibit is located in Neighbours, the recently opened Australian Precinct at Wellington Zoo.