Van Diemen’s Land Devils

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The famous cartoon devil

Named in 1642 by Abel Tasman after his patron and the Governor of the then Dutch East Indies, Van Diemen’s Land or Tasmania, as it is now known, is home to rare examples of Australian Fauna. The Tasmanian Devil is one such example, a marsupial which is only found on the tiny island. With jaws more powerful than an American pit bull, the creature is a contradiction. Shy of humans and timid in many situations, it can nonetheless produce bloodcurdling and savage noises particularly when engaging in destroying the carcass of roadkill. With a head twice the size of its body, ears like horns and such gutteral sounds, its no wonder that the early explorers named them devils. They have a powerful sense of smell and can detect carrion from a large distance. I met some in captivity at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (www.bonorong.org.au) just outside Hobart. The organisation, like the Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie is dedicated to the care, reseach and rehabiliation of wildlife. Neither organisation recieves ANY money from the Government who is clearly happy spending it on new planes for the Air Force! I just had to get that out! At Bonorong, they dedicate part of the donations from the public to research into the facial cancer which the devils have been suffering from for some years and are using the famous Looney Tunes character TAZ to help in the cause

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