After thousands of suggestions from the public, the Australian Reptile Park is announcing the name of some of its cutest residents. Introducing… VEGEMITE and TOAST the Tasmanian devil joeys. Vegemite & Toast are currently being hand-raised by Keeper Lauren Hunter who dotes on the pair day and night.
Keeper Lauren has been very busy with the Australian Reptile Park’s newest bundles of joy with the twin female Tasmanian devil joeys coming from sister conservation organisation Aussie Ark. Hand-raising Tasmanian devil joeys is no easy task with the precious pair on bottle feeds every 4 hours, including one at 2am!
Vegemite and Toast joeys will be joining a pair of Tasmanian devil joeys named “Pickles and Cheese” who are also being raised at the Australian Reptile Park, meaning the Mammal keepers have well and truly got their hands full!
Keeper Lauren Hunter is hand-raising the pair and says, “Throughout the naming competition we accomplished two things – found incredible names for our gorgeous new family members and raised awareness for Tasmanian devils as a species.”
Ms Hunter continued “Even if only one person took the time to look into the conversation and protection of Tasmanian devils due to this and what the Reptile Park and Aussie Ark are doing to save the species, we have done our job! But in this case, we had tens of thousands of people falling in love with these joeys!”
“Tasmanian devils are one of the most iconic native species we have here in Australia. Looking at these two it’s easy to see why! They love to get up to mischief, playing with each other and climbing everything!” Ms Hunter concluded.
Acting as a true sign of hope, all four Tasmanian devil joeys will act as ambassadors for the species and Australia’s native wildlife. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate on earth. With over 40 mammals alone extinct, Australia is an incredibly important region as so many of our species are found here, and nowhere else on the entire planet. 87% of our mammals, 93% of our Reptiles, 94% frogs and 45% birds are only found in Australia, and we must protect them.
In eight months’ time, Vegemite, Toast, Cheese and Pickles will make their return to Aussie Ark and be released into a wild protected sanctuary – the largest of its kind for Tasmanian devils. Aussie Ark’s population of Tasmanian devils are free from the devastating devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) that plagues wild populations.