Devil’s in the de­tail

Australian Geographic - - Expedition Diary -

EARLY IN THE YEAR I jumped at a three-day ex­pe­di­tion to see Tas­ma­nian devils at Devil Ark, a cap­tive breed­ing fa­cil­ity in the Bar­ring­ton Tops re­gion of NSW. Devil Ark founder Tim Faulkner and his team work tire­lessly to pro­tect en­dan­gered na­tive Aus­tralian wildlife.

The ad­ven­ture be­gan as soon as we hit the dirt road, when Tim spot­ted echid­nas, bearded dragons and an east­ern brown snake. Once at the breed­ing fa­cil­ity, we loaded the ute up with buck­ets of road­kill kan­ga­roo, caus­ing hun­gry devils to bound over. We learnt how to set up devil traps, and re­turned the next day to find a few un­happy res­i­dents, ready for their reg­u­lar check-ups.

We helped mon­i­tor and feed timid east­ern quolls, while bandi­coots skit­tered about our feet. In­side the re­search cen­tre, we were handed adorable devil joeys in hand-sewn flan­nel sacks do­nated by lo­cals.

Once the sun set, we got back out on the road to go night-spot­ting. In the space of a few hun­dred me­tres the high beam skimmed across wild wom­bats pot­ter­ing off into the shrub, while red-necked wal­la­bies looked up, be­wil­dered, be­fore hop­ping away. We spent a good while search­ing for the Davies’ tree frog down by a creek, while wide-eyed pos­sums stared down at us from the tree­tops. If you’ve ever thought spot­ting wildlife was sim­ply a com­bi­na­tion of luck and pa­tience, then you’re yet to meet Tim, who’s an ea­gleeyed trea­sure trove of knowl­edge.

As a re­sult of this spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, we learnt a lit­tle about what’s hap­pen­ing in wildlife con­ser­va­tion in Aus­tralia. Devil Ark’s suc­cesses are the re­sult of the sin­gle-minded pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion of Tim and his team. It was a priv­i­lege to have such a uniquely Aus­tralian wildlife en­counter.

CELINA FUJIMURA

Devil Ark

From $1350 for adults and $800 for children

An ea­ger Tas­ma­nian devil waits pa­tiently for its lunch of road­kill roo to be de­liv­ered.Devil Ark’s man­agerDean Reid holds a Tas­ma­nian devil while its joey gets a health check-up.

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