A wildlife park in Bicheno Tasmania on Tasmania’s stunning east coast is leading the way in saving the Tasmanian devil.
The young Tasmanian devil joey buries its head in the crook of the keeper’s arm. It looks so small and defenceless, a furry, extremely cute and very shy ball of fur.
I can’t resist the urge to stroke the soft fur on the young devil’s back and it reacts by burying its head further into the keeper’s arm.
He swings the joey around to face me; the critter protests by baring its teeth. Next to it, another joey shivers fearfully in the arms of a park ranger.
Cute and cuddly is not what most people expect of the Tasmanian devil. In fact, early European settlers named them after their spine-chilling screeches and demonic growls.
Passion for the Tasmanian devil
The passion for the Tasmanian devil is contagious, especially when you visit one of the Tasmanian devil sanctuaries in Tasmania, such as East Coast Natureworld near Bicheno.
A visit to the park offers a wealth of information about the plight of the Tasmanian devil through talking to the rangers and reading the informative display boards.
Devil world is an educational centre aimed at increasing the awareness of the Tasmanian devil.
The devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) that is rampaging its way through the devil population is an infectious cancer which has spread across 60% of Tasmania, reducing the devil population by 70%. In May 2009 the Australian government listed the Tasmanian devil as endangered.
The Tasmanian devil is a fascinating animal and it’s easy to fall in love with Tasmania’s beautiful scenery and friendly people.
Wombats, kangaroos and other wildlife
Aside from excellent work with Tasmanian devil conservation, the park also has a breeding and rehabilitation sanctuary for orphaned or injured wildlife such as wombats and kangaroos.
Eastcoast Natureworld is a fun place for kids to feed kangaroos, koalas, pademelons, lorikeets and pelicans.
The attractions are spread out over 65 hectares of pristine parkland with picturesque lagoons. There’s a playground, scenic lookouts, walk-through aviaries and lots of snakes and lizards.
But most of all, it offers the opportunity to look a Tasmanian devil in the eye.
While in Bicheno
1. Take a fairy penguin tour to watch the penguins come ashore at dusk.
2. Take a ride in the Glass Bottom Boat to see an assortment of marine life. Bicheno Aquarium also has displays of seahorses, sharks, jellyfish, fish and invertebrates.
3. The waters near Bicheno offers spectacular diving.
What to do
East Coast Natureworld is located on Tasman Highway, Bicheno.
See Devil Island Project for details.