Help Save a Tassie Devil This Christmas



So if you’ve been following my Facebook page you’ll know I’ve been hinting at a future opportunity to help one of my favourite charities. As you’ll be aware if you’ve read Thyla, the Tasmanian Devil features prominently in the story. As you may also be aware, the Tassie Devils are in a bit of strife, due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease. The following is from the website of “Save The Tasmanian Devil”:

Tasmanian devils with large facial tumours were photographed in north-east Tasmania during 1996. A decade later, we know these characteristics are consistent with Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

DFTD is a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head.

DFTD appears to be a new disease that is restricted to Tasmanian devils. No affected animals were detected among the 2000-plus devils trapped by six biologists between 1964 and 1995.

As at February 2010, DFTD had been confirmed across more than 60% of the State. To date, no confirmed cases have been recorded west of the Murchison Highway.

DFTD is extremely unusual: it is one of only three recorded cancers that can spread like a contagious disease. It is spread between individuals through biting. 

Animals usually die within a few months of the cancer becoming visible. Tasmanian devils with facial tumours find it difficult to eat. Death results from starvation and the breakdown of body functions.

In diseased areas, nearly all sexually mature Tasmanian devils (older than two years of age) become infected and succumb to the disease. Juveniles as young as one year old can also be infected. This is resulting in populations with a very young age-structure in which females have only one breeding event, whereas they would normally have three.

Populations in which DFTD has been observed for several years have declined by up to 95% (approximate, due to low sample size in recent years), with no evidence to date of either of the decline stopping or the prevalence of the disease decreasing.

The Tasmanian devil has been listed as Endangered by the Federal and State governments, as well as the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected.

As you can see the situation is pretty dire, and I’ve been thinking for a long time about ways I could help. What I have decided is to run a charity auction. Those of who took part in the Authors For Queensland auction earlier in the year will know what an amazing result can be achieved from this sort of initiative.

I’ve joined forces with the amazing Christina Booth to put this on and together we have five wonderful auction items for you to bid on. They are:

  1. A signed copy of Thyla
  2. A signed copy of the very first hot-off-the-press Vulpi (the sequel to Thyla) – read it before anyone else does!
  3. A signed very rare hardback copy of Christina Booth’s acclaimed picture book, Potato Music
  4. A manuscript assessment of the first thirty pages of a Young Adult Novel, compiled by me!
  5. And the most wonderful prize of all, an original illustration from Christina’s beautiful Tasmanian Devil book, Purinina. The following is a blurb about the illustration Christina will be auctioning:

The original illustration up for auction is a from the book ‘Purinina, A Devil’s Tale’
(The word purinina is the Aboriginal word for the animal Europeans call the Tasmanian Devil and is used with permission from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre)
published by Lothian Books (A division of Hachette Livre Australia), 2007
Written and illustrated by award wnning Australian author/illustrator Christina Booth
Awarded a Notable Children’s Book 2008 by the CBCA.

Bid big, the estimated retail value of this art work is over $400.

The illustrations for auction are  individually signed, archivally mounted (four images in one mount) ready for framing (frame not included in purchase price)
(the work is entitled ‘Her leg escapes. Her bottom follows. She lands with a bump on the ground.’

The image depicts a baby devil emerging from it’s mothers pouch.

The artwork is completed in watercolour paint, water soluable wax crayon and gouache on coldpressed 300gsm acid free, 100% cotton water colour paper (Arches)
the dimensions in the mount are 510 x 635 mm.

And here is a picture of the artwork!

More information about the auction will be up on the site next week but I wanted to give you some notice – and get you all excited! What better Christmas present could you give than hope for the future of these beautiful, iconic animals? I hope you’ll all take part in this initiative, so together we can help work towards finding a cure for this devastating disease. More information to come!

One thought on “Help Save a Tassie Devil This Christmas

  1. I’ve been reading about this very sad tumor situation for a while – so terrific that you’ve got a concrete way to help! I never realized how adorable they were but I think the potential loss of any species in this fashion is a tragedy. Hope the auction will be a HUGE success.


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