Little devils delight

Tasmanian Devil joeys Ebony, Des, Troy, Brian and Raine make their public debut at Australia Zoo.
Tasmanian Devil joeys Ebony, Des, Troy, Brian and Raine make their public debut at Australia Zoo. NIKKII JOYCE

IT WAS a whirlwind debut.

But there were no cartoon-style tornadoes to speak of on the first public appearance of the Sunshine Coast’s five new Tasmanian Devil joeys.

“Damn Warner Bros,” joked Australia Zoo head of native mammals Tammy Forge as she set about dispelling some myths while juggling three of the five captivating little black fur balls.

Only child Troy and quadruplets Des, Brian, Ebony and Raine are the latest additions at Australia Zoo in its best ever Tasmanian devil breeding season.

The five-month-old joeys, named by Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, only left the pouches of proud respective mothers Tasma and Indi two weeks ago.

Both Tasma and Indi are first time parents and gave birth about a week apart.

Initially zoo staff did not know how many joeys had been born, but the discovery of five joeys has zoo staff proud as punch of this year’s additions to the nursery.

Queensland’s first white rhino birth in captivity saw the arrival of Savannah back in April.

It was the same month original devil twins celebrated their first birthday.

Mums Tasma and Indi are now back in the 12-strong den of zoo devils

But Troy and his cousins will slowly be weaned away from their parents in the lead up to their official public debut during next month’s school holidays.

Ms Forge said it was not known whether the five joeys would ever make it into the wild.

But with predictions the species will be extinct within 10 to 15 years due to a cancerous disease, that is not such a bad thing.

“We’re here to change perceptions, and have people fall in love with them as much as we have,” Ms Forge said.

“Then people will want to do more to save them in the wild.”

Wild Tasmanian devils suffer from what is known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease, an infectious cancer now found across 70% of Tasmania. She said the disease was only spread through bites, when infected devils “scrap” with others.

Brother and sister Ebony and Des, snuggled comfortably in their blankets, were unfazed at the scrum of media attention.

But Troy, Brian and Raine were a little more restless.

“They really are naturally quite shy and timid, they are no devils at all.”

Topics:  australia zoo sunshine coast

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