More about Devil Ark founders and partners

ARP

Devil Ark is being developed by the Australian Reptile Park, a national award-winning tourist attraction located on the Central Coast of NSW. The Park has a long and colourful history (60 years), with involvement in very meaningful projects and activities, much of which is highlighted at www.reptilepark.com.au.

Why Tasmanian devils at a reptile park? The owners and managers of the Australian Reptile Park became interested in the plight of the Tasmanian devil in the early 2000s. In 2004, Director John Weigel AM began contributing to the development of a partnership between the Australasian regional zoo body, Zoos and Aquaria Association (formerly known as ARAZPA) and the Tasmanian government. From an early stage it was apparent that the decline of Tasmanian devils in the wild was like no other animal disease epidemic ever faced in this country, and that it was almost a certainty, even as early as 2004, that the establishment of an effective captive insurance population will be required if this incredible and iconic species was to be saved from extinction.

From the birth of the official Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STTDP) insurance population program, the Reptile Park has been an industry leader, maintaining up to 65 Tasmanian devils as part of the mainland ‘intensive population’ component of the STTDP. The ongoing success of the Reptile Park’s on-site devil breeding program reflects a commitment from the management and staff of the family-owned business to the overarching aims of the Program.

But, it is clear that what is required to truly save the Tasmanian devil is a 'big systems' approach - hence Devil Ark. This is largely in recognition of inherent limitations to the role of ‘intensively managed’ breeding facilities. The ‘one pen per devil’ method requires careful planning and monitoring on a daily basis to create opportunities for social interactions, and to critically manage every stage of the reproductive process, often on an hour-to-hour basis. This degree of human effort and associated factors contributes to very high maintenance costs for the keeping of Tasmanian devils.

ARP

The Australian Reptile Park is a national award-winning tourist attraction that has diverted much of its direction to assist in averting the extinction of the Tasmanian devil.

FAME

The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME) is a tax deductable gift recipient volunteer organisation that raises funds and awareness to avert the extinction of Australian wildlife species. FAME actively supports projects such as Devil Ark that will save endangered species – often in partnership with a wide range of like-minded organisations. In many instances, FAME has worked with organisations that manage protected areas where native species can live naturally in their natural environment, safe from the combined threats of habitat destruction and introduced predators and competitors.

FAME volunteers have erected hundreds of kilometres of feral proof fencing, destroyed vast numbers of feral weeds and planted thousands of native plants. Their efforts have helped some of Australia’s most endangered species to survive. The chances of survival of more than 10 of Australia’s most endangered mammals, three endangered bird species and countless hectares of remnant plant communities have been improved due to the efforts of FAME since its establishment in 1993. For further information about FAME, visit www.fame.org.au.

ARP

The Australian Reptile Park.

ARP

The Australian Reptile Park’s on-site breeding facility, which includes 38 breeding pens, will continue to operate as an important part of the ‘intensive’ component of the STTDP/ZAA insurance population, independent of the much larger scaled ‘Devil Ark’ at Barrington Tops.

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