Tasmania backs the devil as the state emblem

The endangered Tasmanian Devil has been chosen as the state’s official animal emblem.

Governor Kate Warner announced the decision – made public on Sunday – at a government meeting held late last week.

Until now, Tasmania was the only state without an animal emblem.

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Queensland’s animal emblem is the koala, New South Wales’ is the platypus, Victoria’s is the leadbeater’s possum, South Australia’s is the southern hairy-nosed wombat and Western Australia’s is the numbat.

The Australian Capital Territory does not have an official animal emblem, though its bird emblem is the gang-gang cockatoo.

Surprisingly, the animal emblem of the Northern Territory is not the crocodile, but the red kangaroo.

The Government took public submissions to decide which animal should be given the honour.

Minister for the Environment Matthew Groom said the Government had considered all of the public submissions received through the consultation period and that the Tasmanian Devil overwhelmingly had the most public support.

“Declaring a formal animal emblem provides us with an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and promote our unique native fauna, particularly the Tasmanian Devil,” he said.

It is hoped the animal’s new status will raise international awareness of facial tumour disease, which is threatening the species.

It is estimated 90 per cent of the wild devil population has been wiped out by the infectious devil facial tumour disease.

Last year the danger of extinction was lessened by a successful national breeding program that resulted in 600 devils in sustainable insurance populations spread across 31 zoos.

“While the insurance population program has been a resounding success we must continue to do all we can to encourage support in the fight against disease and to secure its future in the wild,” Mr Groom said.

The Tasmanian Devil joins the state’s floral emblem, the Tasmanian blue gum.

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