Tasmanian devils welcomed to Wellington Zoo

By Heather McCracken

Tasmanian devil. Photo / File
Tasmanian devil. Photo / File

Four new Tasmanian devils have been welcomed to Wellington Zoo today.

The four devils are part of the Save the Tasmanian Devils Program, based in Tasmania, which works with zoos and institutions around the world.

The new exhibit was opened in Neighbours, Wellington Zoo's recently-opened Australian Precinct.

Conservation minister Nick Smith opened the new exhibit, saying the animals with their "big mouths, bad behaviour and noisiness" would fit in well with the nation's politicians in the capital.

"This new exhibit helps the conservation of the devils, is good for trans-Tasman relations and adds to the attractions at New Zealand's oldest zoo," he said.

"The Tasmanian devil got a rough rap with its name and it is not as cute as Australia's koala or New Zealand's kiwi. However, it is an iconic species for Tasmania and a unique mammal that we must work to ensure the survival of."

New Zealand had more endangered species than Australia and more experience in saving them from extinction, Dr Smith said.

"The Tasmanian devil population in the wild have decreased by 80 per cent due to the rapid spread of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

"It is good for New Zealand to take on four ambassador devils from the insurance population and raise awareness of the plight facing their species."

The Save the Tasmanian Devils Programme aims to see the animals thriving in the wild again.

"The arrival of these animals and the new exhibit at Wellington Zoo will inform more people about this endangered species," Dr Smith said.

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