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Tasmanian Devils Make Public Debut

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Welcome the Zoo's newest residents on December 30.

Tasmanian Devils Make Public Debut

Tasmanian devils are the world's largest carnivorous marsupials. Photo courtesy of Arthur Chapman/Flickr.

December 27, 2013

Join the ABQ BioPark in welcoming four Tasmanian devils to the Zoo. The animals have been settling into their new home behind-the-scenes since they arrived last week from Healesville Sanctuary in Australia. Their public debut will be on Monday, Dec. 30 at 11:30 a.m. After the debut, visitors can see the Tasmanian devils daily in the zoo's Australia area near the koalas and wombats.

"The Tasmanian devils have been getting used to zookeepers, their new habitat and to each other," said Rick Janser, Director of the ABQ BioPark. "We have been working on bringing this species to Albuquerque for the past 10 years, and we are excited to introduce them to the public and teach people about these fascinating marsupials."

To help welcome the Tasmanian devils, Hugh Greenwood and the entire UNM Lobo Men's Basketball team will participate in the ribbon cutting. Greenwood is from the island state of Tasmania and is familiar with the dog-sized animals.

"We thought it would be fun to invite Hugh and the rest of the basketball team, because Androo Kelly, the Director of Trowunna Wildlife Park and the consultant that helped us move the animals, actually knows Hugh from Tasmania," said Janser.

Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) are only found on the island of Tasmania. Some wild populations have declined by more than 80 percent due to a contagious and fatal cancer first detected in 1996. While scientists search for a cure for the disease, zoos are raising a healthy, cancer-free insurance population. The ABQ BioPark is the second facility in the United States to house Tasmanian devils.

Learn about this unique, dynamic species at the public debut on December 30. In addition to the welcoming ceremony, discovery stations and light refreshments will be available. The event is included with regular admission.

From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Dec. 30, Zoo guests can use the codeword "DEVIL" to receive one free child admission with every paying adult. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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