Tasmanian devils on display at Albuquerque zoo | KOB 4
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Tasmanian devils on display at Albuquerque zoo

Casey Torres, Brian Fetting
November 08, 2018 09:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two Tasmanian devils, Cola and Schweppes, were integrated into their new home Thursday.

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The ABQ BioPark is one of four zoos in the United States that houses Tasmanian Devils. They are in the exhibit for educational reasons and to raise awareness of the contagious, Devil Facial Tumor Disease that has left the devils on the endangered list.

“It’s passed by spreading cells between devils with cuts and nicks and things. It’s a 100% mortality within six months if they do become infected, so it’s a very aggressive disease and in the wild, these guys only live for 4-5 years,” said Mammal Curator, Erin Flynn.

The hope is for Schweppes and Cola to possibly breed with female devils in the future since they are cancer-free and help boost the population that has been wiped out by 80 percent since 1996.

Olivia Barnard, the Wildlife Officer for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, said ABQ BioPark could get another two Tasmanian Devils in the future.

The program is accepting donations to help further research for finding a cure for the disease. Donations can be made here. 

Tasmanian devils have a controversial history at the Albuquerque zoo. Four years ago, a Tasmanian devil named Jasper was assumed to be violently killed at the ABQ Bio Park.

The exact cause of his death remains a mystery but prompted legislators to take action.

State lawmakers filed a bill that would create a misdemeanor called, Interference with a Zoo Animal.

The bill banned people from entering zoo pens and having unauthorized contact with the animals.

Credits

Casey Torres, Brian Fetting

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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