The Tasmanian Devil Insurance Population commenced in 2006. It is a joint initiative between the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) and the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA).
The Tasmanian Devil is listed as endangered and populations are declining due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
DFTD is a fatal disease first recognised in wild Devils during the 1990’s. The contagious cancer is characterised by large tumours around the face and neck. The disease makes it difficult for devils to eat and compete for food, with most Devils dying within a few months of tumours first appearing.
The program focuses on ensuring a disease-free mainland population in zoos and parks. This has been achieved; the population is now at 550 healthy individuals, with over 150 disease-free founders represented in the population. Moving forward, the focus is to ensure that the insurance population is maintained, with genetic diversity represented, and suitable individuals are available for release into isolated areas to maintain the species' long-term ecological function.
Any Tasmanian Devils housed at Caversham Wildlife Park are from the program, and play the role of ambassador animals; educating our guests on the plight of their wild relatives.