Devils to Range Free at Freycinet
The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, today welcomed the official opening of the third Devil Island free range enclosure on the Freycinet Peninsula.
Mr Wightman said that the 22 hectare enclosure has further enhanced the ability to house Tasmanian devils in the insurance population under near wild conditions.
"The building of this enclosure is another example of the wonderful partnership between the State Government, the community-based Devil Island Project, and entrepreneur Jan Cameron," Mr Wightman said.
"It is an excellent example of what is required for a successful conservation project, with all levels of government, community and the private sector working together to help save this iconic species.
"The Tasmanian Government is pleased that it has been able to contribute around $480,000 to building these enclosures around the state.
"I applaud the fantastic efforts of the Devil Island Project team, who have made this possible through their tireless work and fundraising."
Mr Wightman said the three free range enclosures that are now operating in Tasmania represent a huge boost to the measures currently in place to respond to the facial tumour disease affecting wild Tasmanian devils.
"The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has identified there are no single solutions to combating this transmissible cancer," Mr Wightman said.
"A range of strategies is required to give us the best chance of securing the long term survival of the devil.
"The insurance population of Tasmanian devils, that has been built in partnership with the Zoo and Aquarium Association and several Tasmanian wildlife parks, has now grown to around 300. These are housed in environments that range from intensively managed to the more hands-off approach of the free range enclosures."
Mr Wightman said the Freycinet enclosure was already home to 18 Tasmanian devils.
"Using knowledge gained from the previous free range enclosure, these facilities have been designed and stocked with animals so that they retain more of the wild characteristics of the species. This will be a key factor should they be required to re-stock areas in the wild.
"The enclosure utilises technology such as infra red and remote cameras, which enables the behaviour and welfare of the animals to be monitored in a much more hands off way."