In a Singapore first, Night Safari welcomes four Tasmanian Devils, one of Australia’s most iconic predators. The four females – Crumpet, Snickers, Jesse and Panini – are all around three years old and have made the Wallaby Trail their new home.
Tasmanian Devils are listed as endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. DFTD is a type of transmissible cancer highly contagious among Tasmanian Devil populations. It spreads when the animals bite each other while fighting or mating, and results in large facial tumours, which can prevent them from eating, eventually causing starvation. Since the discovery of the disease in 1996, the wild population has declined by at least 80 per cent in diseased areas, now spread across the majority of the state.
Tasmanian Devils are known to be small in stature but big in personality. Their unique vocalisations such as growls, screams and screeches when feeding or during confrontations with each other are likely the inspiration for their name.
The Devils are part of the insurance population managed by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Programme (STDP), led by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania. The transfer was made under the recommendation of the Species Management Programme (SMP). Under the SMP, Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) member organisations collaborate to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of species populations under human care.
The STDP is an initiative of the Australian and Tasmanian State governments and an official response to the threat posed by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The vision of the Programme is for a resilient wild Devil population that requires limited human management intervention.
The Tasmanian Devils were originally scheduled to arrive in 2020. However, plans took a turn with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
After four years, Crumpet, Snickers, Jesse and Panini finally arrived safely in Singapore on 7 October 2022, accompanied by Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary senior keeper Adrian Mifsud to ensure the animals’ well-being during the transit.
Tasmanian Devil Exhibit
The launch of Night Safari’s new Tasmanian Devil exhibit was officiated by The Honourable William Hodgman, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore this evening. Located at the end of Night Safari’s Wallaby Trail, their new home consists of two climate-controlled indoor exhibits, two expansive outdoor habitats for the animals to roam and explore, as well as back-of-house facilities consisting of indoor dens and outdoor yards, giving the nocturnal animals ample space to rest in the day.
The outdoor exhibits feature rockwork, water features and Australian trees such as Eucalyptus and shrubs like the Red Flowered Silky Oak to simulate the Devils’ wild dry shrubland habitat. The four individuals will be housed in pairs – Crumpet with Snickers, and Jesse with Panini, with each pair having access to their respective indoor and outdoor spaces.
Mandai Wildlife Group has been contributing to in situ conservation of these iconic Australian species by providing funding to the STDP through the Group’s conservation arm, Mandai Nature. The support goes towards veterinary services including routine health examinations, diagnostics and treatments, capacity building and providing expert consultations to ensure the health and well-being of the animals, both under human care and in the wild.