Sleeping Tasmanian Devils


Saving the endangered Tasmanian devil is one of the world’s great wildlife conservation projects. This is a real life and death challenge, not just to save a species, but to understand the nature of a new and terrible form of cancer.

Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a fatal, transmissible cancer, first observed in Tasmanian devils in the mid 1990s. The illness, which is characterised by the appearance of obvious facial cancers in infected devils, is the only fatal contagious cancer in the world. The disease affects the devils’ ability to hunt and eat, leading to starvation and a slow and painful death.

DFTD has decimated devil populations across Tasmania however the wild Tasmanian devils of our region, the Tasman Peninsula, represent the last isolated, natural population of disease-free, wild devils in the world.

The Unzoo contribution

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo director, John Hamilton, was part of the original scientific group that identified the fact that devils were unhder threat and that isolation and wild devil were required to save the species. John’s proposal that a disease-free breeding project be established has resulted in an insurance population of more than 1,000 healthy devils being bred at a number of institutions around Australia.

Now the Unzoo is the major partner in the official Peninsula Devil Conservation Project which  aims to save Tasmanian devils on the Tasman Peninsula by preventing the spread of the DFTD to the region.

As part of this effort our Devil Tracker project has for many years constantly been monitoring the local wild devils on a daily basis using special infra-red night cameras in forest near the Unzoo. You can help save this vital preservation effort simply by visiting Tasmanian Devil Unzoo and by joining our half day Devil Tracker Adventure.

Tasmanian Devil Conservation Project

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo has a long history of supporting the effort to save the Tasmanian devil, and is a partner in the official Tasmanian Devil Conservation Project. This critical project aims to save Tasmanian devils on the Tasman Peninsula by preventing the spread of the DFTD to the region.

As part of this effort, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is breeding healthy devils for future wild release on the Peninsula. We also maintain a special devil-proof barrier fence at Dunalley, which has been designed to prevent the spread of DFTD into the disease-free Tasman Peninsula region. In addition, through our Devil Tracker Adventure project, we constantly monitor our local wild devils and collect important information on the local devil population through infra-red cameras and data recording.

You can help save save the Tasmanian devil by visiting Tasmanian Devil Unzoo and by joining our Devil Tracker Adventure.



lone tasmanian devil

We urgently require kilometres of Night Owl alarm systems, specifically to help preserve the precious wild devils in our isolated Tasman Peninsula region, now the only truly safe haven for wild devils on Earth.

To find out more about the Night Owl alarm system or to donate to our gofundme campaign click the button below.