Four adorable Tasmanian Devil joeys have soared through their first health check!
The three healthy girls and one boy are six months old and recently had their first visit with the vet at Monarto Zoo.
Mum Thumbelina enjoyed a short rest while the squirming joeys were weighed, microchipped and had their teeth, digits and general health checked.
The joeys weighed in at a healthy 945g, 930g, 900g and 835g with Monarto Zoo Keeper Simon Dower saying the team were very happy with their development.
“We don’t record the joeys’ markings at this stage because they tend to change as they continue to develop over the coming months,” Simon said.
“Although they look small now, they’re actually born the size of a grain of rice and don’t venture out of their mum’s pouch until they’re about four months old.
“In the last few weeks we’ve seen them venture out of the den on mum’s back.
“It’s always very rewarding to see happy and healthy joeys born as a result of the hard work we put into the Tasmanian Devil breeding program,” he said.
In recent years, the Tasmanian Devil population has been devastated by the Devil Facial Tumour Disease, so these joeys are part of a crucial behind-the-scenes breeding program to maintain the species’ genetic diversity.
Zoos SA works with many partner organisations across Australasia in a collaborative captive breeding and release program to safeguard the species from extinction.
“Raising these joeys in a behind-the-scenes environment is essential to prepare them in case an opportunity arises to reintroduce devils into the wild,” Simon said.
“The future of these joeys hasn’t been decided, but some of the devils bred at Monarto will go back into the wild as part of the recovery plan, while others will remain in captivity to continue breeding and play an ambassador role for their species.
“We’re proud to be a part of such a highly effective breeding program which has seen devils bred at Monarto Zoo successfully reintroduced into the wild.
“We work by a saying that ‘our quality of work is our animals’ quality of life’ and we do everything in our power to make sure the outcomes of our work are best for all animals, both in captivity and in the wild.”
Visitors can see our four bachelor Tasmanian Devils at Monarto Zoo near the Giraffe viewing platform.