Funds collected were donated to help preserve the Tasmanian Devil through the Devil Island Project, to support and preserve a disease free Tasmanian Devil wild population.
The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is now listed as a threatened species. A cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), has decimated the population in less than ten years by over 70%. It is passed by biting and once contacted there is no escape or immunity. The Devils face a certain, painful , and slow starvation as the hideous tumours stop them from eating.
Bruce Englefield, owner of Natureworld, a wildlife park at Bicheno in Tasmania had the idea of using a double security fencing system to quarantine disease-free devils. He and his wife donated a 28-acre block of land where the Devils could run free and keep their wild behaviours, thus making eventual release and survival possible.
Needing to raise funds to build this enclosure, dubbed Devil Island, Bruce decided to run the London marathon. He was joined by his wife and eight other dedicated conservationists who ran the marathon and raised the $140,000 required. Shane Gould MBE and Kerry Finch MLC joined as Patrons and the project was built, stocked with Devils, and officially opened just 15 months from the original idea.
The whole idea was taken up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a report was published that highlighted the need for more Devil Islands or Free Range Enclosures (FRE) The premier of Tasmania promised government funding of $400,000 and the Devil Islanders pledged to raise another $260,000 to build the next three.
Devil Island 1 is working well and there are mums with Joey’s. Funds raised went to support the Devil Island project to build the next three Free Range Enclosures so that the new Joey’s have somewhere safe to grow up.