Three remarkable Tasmanian Devil females born to Lilith at Alma Park Zoo are contributing to saving the Tasmanian Devil from extinction from the highly contagious Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD).
Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) is a fatal condition in Tasmanian Devils and is only one of three recorded cancers that spread like a contagious disease. Tasmanian Devils contract DFTD through biting.
Owing to the lack of genetic diversity in Tasmanian Devils, live tumor cells are not rejected by their immune system.
For this reason, Tasmanian Devils are being bred in Zoos and Wildlife Parks on mainland Australia to improve genetic diversity of the Devils and to develop a DFTD free population of Devils.
Our three female Tasmanian Devils born at the Zoo this year are special for two reasons:
- All three females are completely black! Tasmanian Devils usually have a white band across their chest and across their rump. Only 17% of Devils have no white bands. To have one baby in a litter with no white markings is rare, but for all three in a litter to have no markings is exceptional!
- Our three babies are great grand devils (children) of Devils with Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), but they do not have the disease themselves. Owing to their pedigree, these three females are unrelated to all other Devils on the mainland, so they play a significant role in boosting the genetic diversity of the captive Devil population.
Our special little Devils are now on display at Alma Park Zoo with their mother, Lilith.