Things to do  |  12 Sep 2022

Five young Tasmanian devils have taken up residence at Orana Wildlife Park.

 The arrival last week of Pendlebury, Chester Campbell, Steele, Fox and John brings the number of Tasmanian devils at the park to nine, meaning Christchurch has one of the largest holdings of devils outside of Australia.

 The devils were transferred to Christchurch as part of the Save the Tasmanian Devil (STDP) Ambassador Programme.

 The arrival of the five young males doubles Orana’s devil population to 9 and means Christchurch is home to one the largest holding of devils outside of Australia! Orana has New Zealand’s largest Tasmanian devil habitat.

 "We are thrilled to welcome the five new boys to Orana,’’ says the park’s exotic species manager Rachael Mason.

“Chester Campbell is the feistiest of the new arrivals and Fox doesn’t lag far behind in that regard. Steele and Pendleberry are rather mellow and John is the smallest and is quite calm and quiet but has beautiful long whiskers.’’

“It is an absolute privilege for Orana to be involved in the Ambassador Programme and raise awareness on the plight of these magnificent marsupials,” adds Rachael.

Devils@Cradle’s Managing Director, Wade Anthony, accompanied the Tasmanian devils to Christchurch.

 “Pendlebury and Steele are brothers and Fox is their half-brother and all were born at our sanctuary in 2019. Chester Campbell and John are unrelated and moved to Devils@Cradle from the STDP programme for this transfer. These adult devils are in great condition.

"They have travelled well and I know they will settle in to a happy and healthy life here at Orana because Christchurch (the South Island) has a very similar climate and vegetation to Tasmania and Orana has a wonderful facility constructed specifically for devils,'' Wade says.

Tasmanian devils are the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupials. They are nocturnal animals wo live for approximately five to seven years in captivity.

Sadly, devils are classified as endangered mainly due to a rare contagious cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The fatal disease has led to a population decline of over 60 per cent of wild devils and up to 90 per cent in some regions of Tasmania. The main aim of the STDP is to ensure the survival of the species.

* Christchurch City Council provides grant funding to Orana Wildlife Park.