Tama zoo welcomes two Tasmanian devils
On Saturday 11 June, Tama Zoological Park, based just outside Tokyo, Japan, welcomed two Tasmanian devils as part of the Tasmanian Devil Ambassador Program (TDAP).
Initiated in 2013, and developed in close consultation with the Australasian Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), the TDAP was designed with the aim of placing suitable animals in world-class zoos as “ambassadors”.
Each devil provided to participating zoos comes from surplus production of the Insurance Population, the devils housed in overseas zoos are not intended to supplement the breeding, rather the devils raise awareness of the plight of the Tasmanian devils on a world stage. Only prominent zoos with a proven commitment to conservation are selected to participate and they contribute directly to conservation of the endangered species in Tasmania.
The two devils who made their debut at Tama Zoo were “Maydena” and “Murdunna”, two-year old sisters who had been raised at Trowunna Wildlife Park, Tasmania. Tama Zoo staff, keepers and the zoos’ Director, Dr. Yutaka Fukuda had all visited Tasmania in the lead up to the opening and received considerable training on the handling and ongoing husbandry requirements of the Tassie devil.
The devils new enclosure was purpose built in a modular design, similar to the enclosures they grew up in Tasmania and it has already become a comfortable home for the two devils.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, ZAA Executive Director Chris Hibbard said, “The launch of the Tasmanian devil Ambassador Program here at Tama Zoo is critical to bringing this important story and awareness to Japan and the world and is another example of your support of a relationship that has now spanned more than 130 years.”
Rebecca Cuthill, Manager of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal attended the opening as a guest of Tama Zoo and expressed her thanks to their commitment to species recovery stating, “…international partnerships are critically important and today we are witnessing the start of a unique collaboration between Japan and Australia. The two devils, “Maydena” and “Murdunna” may not realise but they are now the face, in Japan, of one of the leading species recovery efforts world-wide.”
Presenting a letter from the Minister for State Growth, Energy, the Environment, Parks and Heritage, The Hon. Matthew Groom she added, “… on behalf of the Tasmanian government’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the realisation of the Tasmanian devil enclosure at Tama Zoo.”
As part of the opening day activities, Androo Kelly Director of Trowunna Wildlife Park gave a key note lecture to Zoo guests and dignitaries and Rebecca Cuthill answered questions on Tasmanian devils from visitors in front of the new devil enclosure.
The event was well attended with guest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan; the Tokyo Zoological Park Society, the Australian Embassy, Club Australia Japan and many others.
Photo1: (Left to right): Chris Hibbard, Executive Director, ZAA; Maiko Ishizaki
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rebecca Cuthill, Manager Save
the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.
Photo 2: Murdunna and Maydenna in their new enclosure
Photo 3:Banner at Tama Zoo announcing the arrival of Tasmanian Devils