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History is made yet again at the famous Devil breeding program at Aussie Ark! Three adult male Tasmanian Devils have flown in from different parts of Australia to bring “fresh blood” to the Barrington Tops’ facility and join Aussie Ark’s breeding program.

Most notably, adult male Winston has made the journey from Tasmania thanks to a unique collaboration with the Tasmanian Government. With Tasmania the birth-place and strong-hold for this iconic species, Winston’s arrival caused special excitement for the Aussie Ark staff.

Flying in on the same day was Cria from Monarto Safari Park in South Australia, and Lucas from Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria.

Winston took 13 hours to arrive at the Ark travelling from Hobart to Sydney with Qantas Airlines, while Cria and Lucas were transported in style thanks to Virgin Australia.

The three males were then transported from Sydney Airport to the Barrington Tops by Brett Headley of Ceva Logistics in a customised air-conditioned van. Ceva Logistics is specially licensed to freight exotic animals, ensuring health and welfare for the journey.

The final step in the journey was collection of the three crates at Moonan Flats – at the base of the mountain leading up to the facility – by Aussie Ark Curator Kelly Davis. Ms Davis then drove the Devils the remaining 45 minutes up to the Ark.

“It was so exciting to receive these Devils,” Ms Kelly said. “They didn’t fly First Class but they were treated like true VIPs every step of the way!”

The three males were given rigorous health upon arrival at the Ark, to make sure they were in good condition after their long journey. Health-checking Winston was a career highlight for Ms Kelly who described Winston as “our Tasmanian Super Star”.

“After their health check the three Devils were housed in separate intensive enclosures for a two week quarantine period,” Ms Kelly explained. “We checked them constantly, monitoring them for any possibility of ill health or disease.”

After this quarantine period Winston, Cria and Lucas were released into large environmental enclosures. Each enclosure contains four males and four females all genetically suitable to breed with the new males and provide future Devil joeys.

“The receipt of these three Devils is huge for Aussie Ark and also the conservation of this species,” Ms Kelly said. “It brings new genetics, new bloodlines, into our population so we can create a really robust insurance population. Thank you to Winston, Cria and Lucas for making the long journey!”

Aussie Ark supports the largest population of Tasmanian Devils on mainland Australia. The introduction of these three new males is strategically timed to bolster the species’ 2023 breeding season, which begins in early autumn.

“It’s really exciting to know that some of the Tasmanian Devil joey born in this year’s breeding season will come from these three males,” Ms Kelly said. “Especially the ones that call Winston Dad, who will have fresh Tasmanian blood in their veins.”

Aussie Ark would like to thank their partners Glencore, WIRES, Rewild, Wild Ark and the Australian Reptile Park for supporting their Tasmanian Devil program, as well as their community of donors and supporters.

You can support Aussie Ark and our Tasmanian devil breeding program by donating today!