Devils @ Cradle to transport four Tasmanian devils to New Zealand wildlife park

Four young Tasmanian devils will embark on a 3000km journey to New Zealand today.

The creatures will be transported to their new home at Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch as part of the Save The Tasmanian Devil ambassador program.

The trip will be the second international transfer conducted by wildlife sanctuary Devils @ Cradle.


Managing director Wade Anthony said the 12-month-old males would easily settle into their new home as the wintery conditions of Christchurch were very similar to that of Cradle Mountain.

"Orana has a wonderful facility constructed specifically for devils just a few years ago. The zoo currently houses two older Tasmanian devils in their twilight years," he said.

The Kiwi-bound devils were among 24 born in captivity at Devils @ Cradle as part of the national Insurance Population Breeding program

Mr Anthony said he would not miss them because he was focused on the "bigger picture" of conservation.

"The benefit is advocacy and awareness for the plight of the Tasmanian devil and for the whole conservation work that is going on around the species," he said.

The devils have spent several weeks at a quarantine facility at Cressy to ensure they meet export requirements and are healthy ahead of their journey.

Mr Anthony will escort the animals as they fly from Launceston to Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon and on to Christchurch on Wednesday.

"We have decided against naming these boys as we would like to provide the Kiwi team with the pleasure of naming their new animals," he said.

Devils @ Cradle is a key captive breeding facility for the Save The Tasmanian Devil population insurance program and has sent its animals across the country.

It also sent two devils to Tama zoo in Tokyo, Japan in 2017 and Mr Anthony said another international transfer was expected later in the year.

Mr Anthony said the Tasmanian devil ambassador program was "a great initiative to support for the conservation of this iconic species through advocacy and awareness globally".

"They're iconic animals to Tasmania and it's a species we can't afford to lose from our little island," he said.