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Zoo København Tasmanian devils

Discussion in 'Denmark' started by Toddy, 19 Dec 2009.

  1. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Since a number of rumours have been circulating regarding the tasmanian devils in Copenhagen Zoo, I thought it was time to give you the full story...

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    The 2.2 tasmanian devils arrived in Copenhagen Zoo in early April 2006. They were a birthday gift to the new Prince Christian of Denmark born in October 2005. His mother Mary comes from Tasmania and the devils were given for two reasons:

    1) The symbolic reason. To give the little prince some of his national heritage and strengthen the bond of friendship between Denmark and Tasmania.

    2) The practical reason. Due to the new facial tumor disease that have spread across the wild devil population on Tasmania it has been the wish of many devil-conservationists to start an ex-situ population across the sea that is free of the disease.

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    A new enclosure was built for the devils and I consider this to be one of the zoo's most successfull projects from these past few years. The combined indoor and outdoor exhibit cost 2.5 million danish kroners (336.000€/300.000£/482.000$) and had to be researched, designed and built in just under six months. The experienced adviser for the zoo has been Androo Kelly, the Tasmanian devil expert from Trowunna Wildlife Park. He visited the zoo again in 2009 to check up on the devils and figure out why they are not breeding. At least one of them have produced young at least once but they all died in the pouch. The following is a text written by the vice-director in Copenhagen Zoo about what Androo Kelly said on his latest visit to be the reason for the lack of viable young:

    Despite a really nice effort from animal keepers' side, it has not been managed to get viable offspring from them. The older of the two females is now above the age when you can expect offspring and the youngest is close to the border - she maybe has one more chance! It turns out that the nipples on both females over time has been deformed (can happen in connection with the birth of young that died after a day or two, and thus were not able to empty the glands for milk) so that they can no longer function intentionally. With the older female it applies to all four nipples, while for the youngest it "only" applies to three of the four nipples. So there is a slight chance that she can handle a single young after the next heat.

    In Australia is is still being debated whether they should include foreign zoos in the breeding programme or not. We have the only Tasmanian devils outside the Australian region and everyone is therefore focused on what happens here. Androo will continue his efforts to persuade the necessary people to start two populations outside Australia: one in Europe (based in Copenhagen) and one in the USA. Androo stresses that it is also evident that the missing devil offspring in Copenhagen has so far not been caused by improper or poor care. On the contrary: He is excited about the enthusiasm that characterizes the management of them and also want's to emphasize this in the report he is to write to the Tasmanian authorities. Even in Australia and in Tasmania the breeding results are very volatile from year to year and with only two females, there is nothing strange if it fails. Androo - and we - will therefore work to ensure that the current Tasmanian devils are followed up with more when they themselves are certainly too old to breed.


    Below is an interview featuring Androo Kelly by the devils in Copenhagen Zoo talking about their management and the lack of breeding success.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Jul 2017
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Toddy: thank you yet again for being an amazing source of information here on ZooChat. Cheers mate!:)
     
  3. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be a great idea if populations of devils were established in overseas zoos. I don't see ant real reason why people and the authorities could object. Every argument I have heard against it so far has simply been emotional and zingoistic claptrap.
     
  4. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your input Toddy
     
  5. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Exactly - starting with zoos "overseas" on the mainland! Amazing how many of them are excluded from taking part in the program.

    To your wonderfully descriptive words I would also add "parochial possessiveness"!
     
  6. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Toddy for the update and the beaut photos.

    This facility is better looking than a lot of the Aussie ones!
     
  7. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your excellent posts as always Toddy. I think this is a great exhibit and I really enjoyed seeing the very active animals close up when I visited the zoo. The only thing that struck me was that there wasn't really any information at the exhibit about the story behind their presence in Denmark. I expected there to be a plaque or notice.
     
  8. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    TWPZ has a great devil facility (recently opening a second complex) but interestingly most members of the public will never see it as they do not display the wild caught devils that form the breeding program on request from the Tasmanian Government.

    Copenhagen does have very nice devil facilities.

    Maybe future offspring from the Australian breeding program will go overseas, but the plan is to return the future offspring to the wild after the devils become extinct in the wild so sending them away might not be a priority.
     
  9. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    That is the parochialism that I mentioned.

    The Tasmanian government wants everyone to HAVE to come to Tasmania to see Devils.
     
  10. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    I reminds me of China and their pandas. Although I doubt many zoos would pay one million dollars a year for tassie devils. :)
     
  11. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    When I first uploaded a photo of this exhibit back in 2007 an Aussie forumster (can't remember who) gave this exhibit 1/10 for "devil design" equaling a very poor exhibit. This has a lot to to with the fact that the pictures were from when the exhibit opened and the vegetation had not had time to settle in. Androo Kelly also stresses this as one of the factors that may have contributed to the lack of initial breeding results. But devils aren't easy to provide exotic plants for! I have on several occasions seen a devil climb up one of the ferns in its exhibit and rip it to shreds just for the fun of it :)


    I'm glad that you enjoyed the exhibit. There is actually a small plague by the indoor viewing near the house but it doesn't exactly stand out. Copenhagen Zoo has never been good with signage.


    I strongly believe in starting an overseas population to keep at least one population disease-free. Also, several zoos in Europe have already stated that they are willing to spend the money needed to build a new devil exhibit if the Copenhagen-project is a success.


    BTW, just a fun fact: The combined indoor and outdoor exhibit cost 2.5 million danish kroners (336.000€/300.000£/482.000$) and had to be researched, designed and built in just under six months.
     
  12. Otorongo

    Otorongo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Toddy, it's great to hear from the devils.
    Unfortunately with really bad news about the 0,2 devils.
    I hope there will be a good solution soon to give them a chance to survive in oversea.
    Good luck to the zoo and the younger female.

    Does Androo Kelly analyze the males if they are potent?
     
  13. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    The males are clearly potent as offspring have been produced. The reason for the deformed nipples on the females is because the youngsters died in the pouches and the milk therefore did not flow.
     
  14. Otorongo

    Otorongo Well-Known Member

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    thanks Toddy, I understand what you wrote :)
    But sometimes there is a problem with males, too. I would also consider this point.

    Do you know the age of this four devils?
     
  15. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    I don't know the exact age but they are between 5-6 years old meaning the end of them as potential breeders.
     
  16. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    Back then it looked very barren, with not many hiding oppurtunities. I retract my comments :)
     
  17. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    The exhibit in 2006

    @ZYBen: I won't hold that against you as you did have a point. Here are two pictures of the exhibit as it looked one month after the devils had moved in back in 2006 (including the one you commented on):

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    And below...
     
  18. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    The exhibit in 2009

    ...are two pictures taken from about the same time of the year but in 2009:

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  19. zoo chp89

    zoo chp89 Well-Known Member

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    tasmanian devil ! its good
     
  20. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Quick devil news

    One of the two female Tasmanian devils was euthanized earlier this summer. She suffered from problems with her back and had already attained a high age for a devil (8 years) so that decision was made to put her to sleep. It looks like fresh blood is required for the overseas devil project to succeed.