Actress Bonnie Sveen announced as Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal ambassador
Tasmanian-born actress Bonnie Sveen has been announced today as an ambassador for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal, which raises funds to tackle the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
The Logie winner and former Home and Away star - who now appears in Channel Seven drama The Secret Daughter alongside Jessica Mauboy - said she had an affinity with nature and wanted to help her home state's iconic and endangered marsupial.
"Hearing that this mysterious, fatal disease could mean the end of our precious Tassie Devil was heartbreaking to me," she said.
"More than just a mascot to our state or an internationally famous cartoon character, the devil is a vital member of our unique biodiversity.
"As a Tasmanian, I feel a strong responsibility to do what I can to preserve the remaining healthy devils in the wild and support research into helping fight the disease.
"It was a no-brainer to want to be involved."
Menzies Institute for Medical Research Principal Research Fellow, Professor of Immunology Greg Woods, leads the research team investigating the possibility of a vaccine for healthy wild devils, to prevent them from developing the disease.
Professor Woods said Sveen had shown enormous interest in the team's work on previous visits to Menzies, and would provide a welcome lift to the Appeal.
"Bonnie will be able to reach out to a whole new audience of enthusiastic and energetic supporters who will hopefully get involved in helping our work," Professor Woods said.
"It's quite motivating for us to have someone outside the research group interested in the work we're doing, so it's great to have Bonnie on board."
Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal manager Rebecca Cuthill said the Appeal was thrilled to have been approached by Sveen, and looked forward to her involvement.
"To have someone high-profile and passionate about wildlife like Bonnie take up the fight on behalf of the Devil will provide a welcome boost to national and international awareness of its plight," she said.
"We are grateful to Bonnie for her time and efforts in understanding our work and providing support to the fund and awareness-raising where she can."
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program was established in 2003 as the official, national response to the threat posed by DFTD.
The Australian and Tasmanian Governments, the Zoo and Aquarium Association and the University of Tasmania established the partnership to protect this keystone species. The Appeal is the philanthropic arm of the Program and is administered through the University of Tasmania Foundation.
Dr Cesar Tovar from the Menzies Institute's Devil Facial Tumour Disease research team with new Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal ambassador, actress Bonnie Sveen