Cheeky devils could be keys to fu­ture

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - MITCH MOTT

IT WAS the first check-up for th­ese lit­tle devils who are part of a na­tion­wide breed­ing ef­fort which may hold the fu­ture of the Tas­ma­nian devil.

The four baby devils have had their first med­i­cal checkup with staff at Monarto Zoo near Ade­laide who checked the teeth, joints and eyes of the fluffy crit­ters.

Na­tive an­i­mal zookeeper Si­mon Dower said staff waited five months after the pups were born in April be­fore ex­am­in­ing them and de­ter­min­ing their sex.

“We do the first health check about five months,” Mr Dower said.

“It is the best time to get a han­dle on their con­di­tion.”

The one male and three fe­male pups were given a clean bill of health and were mi­crochipped.

Since 1996, the pop­u­la­tion of Tas­ma­nian devils in the wild has re­duced by as much as 80 per cent and they are con­sid­ered an en­dan­gered species.

The breed­ing pro­gram at Monarto Zoo in­volves 23 devils which are matched up with a metapop­u­la­tion of more than 700 of the mar­su­pi­als which are ei­ther in cap­tiv­ity or on off­shore is­lands.

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