In August 2020, The Devils in Danger Foundation (DIDF) is voluntarily winding up.
If you wish to continue assisting the endangered Tasmanian devils, please support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal
** full wind-up statement can be found below**
Dear Tasmanian Devil Lovers,
My name is Elyshia Wignell and I am the Chief Administrative Officer of the Devils in Danger Foundation. On behalf of our dedicated committee and volunteers, I am writing to inform our loyal and generous supporters of our decision to voluntarily wind up the Devils in Danger Foundation (DIDF).
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a rare, contagious, and fatal cancer spread between devils through biting, was first discovered in 1996. In the first 10 years following its discovery, DFTD had already spread throughout 60% of the devil’s natural range and up to 90% of devil populations within this range were estimated to have been lost. In May 2008, the Tasmanian devil become listed as Endangered.
Fearing we could lose our unique Tasmanian icon, the DIDF was established and our mission was to increase awareness of the plight of the Tasmanian devil and facilitate and implement the appropriate steps to guard against extinction of the species. In 2012 the committee changed hands and in 2015 I was proudly employed to help run the foundation.
Since becoming involved in the DIDF, the committee, our volunteers and I have worked tirelessly to continue the foundation’s mission by:
- Attending public events such as the Royal Hobart and Brighton shows to increase public appreciation and awareness for this unique and endangered species
- Educating the public on the plight of the endangered Tasmanian devils through these public appearances, our sponsors, interpretive signage at various local wildlife parks and zoos and our online presence
- Constructing breeding enclosures at various wildlife parks throughout Tasmania, including quarantine approved ‘category 2’ breeding enclosures to provide extra protection and safety from wild devil populations and the threat of DFTD transmission to captive populations
- Breeding devils and helping to increase numbers of healthy, disease-free devils in captivity
- Providing ongoing funding towards the long-term vital field research on wild Tasmanian devil populations undertaken by Associate Professor Menna Jones. Menna was the first biologist to document DFTD (in 1999) and has been studying the first affected populations on the Freycinet Peninsula since 2001. This research has been essential in helping us to understand how remaining Tasmanian devil populations are coping with the ongoing threat of DFTD. We are extremely proud to have played a part in assisting with this understanding and important research.
The unanimous decision to wind up the DIDF has been made due to the overwhelming feeling that our original mission has been achieved and that the continuing work is being successfully accomplished by the remaining Tasmanian devil charities. 10 years ago there were grave concerns that DFTD would cause the extinction of the Tasmanian devil. Thankfully today, research indicates that no local extinctions have occurred and that remaining devil populations appear to be successfully co-existing with the ongoing threat of DFTD.
Tasmanian devil populations are currently still very low, making them vulnerable to other potential environmental threats. Therefore, it is still vital that ongoing monitoring of wild Tasmanian devil populations takes place to ensure that devils continue to adapt and survive with DFTD. However, the DIDF is aware of the fantastic work that the Australian and Tasmanian Government’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is doing in this space and feels that all ongoing support for Tasmanian devil conservation efforts should be focussed here.
The DIDF will be providing a final donation of $5000 towards Menna Jones and her field research team. All other remaining DIDF funds, upwards of $20,000, will be donated towards the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.
On behalf of the entire committee I would like to sincerely thank all of our supporters for their extreme generosity over the years. We are so proud to feel that our mission has been achieved and we could not have done it without each and every one of you. Tasmanian devils hold a special place in each of our hearts, so if you would like to continue supporting the endangered Tasmanian devils into the future, we encourage you to please direct your donations to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal
Chief Administrative Officer