I never really knew much about the animal kingdom outside of my country not that I was indifferent. I was just unaware of the endangered species of other countries. I knew our Monkey eating eagle is one of our more endangered species but other countries? I never even knew much about Tasmania until I visited my daughter in Melbourne. It was her idea to see Tasmania. My travel to Australia drew out my curiosity of the unusual flora and fauna of this continent. One of them is the often misunderstood Tasmanian devil. Being aware about the care of these animals will surely give me a deeper understanding in caring for our own Philippine animals.

My fascination with the Tassie devils and other natural Australian animals prompts me to write this entry but there is more than that. The fact remains that National Threatened Species Day which happens to be on the 7th of September each year is just two days away. The day is to commemorate the loss of the last known Tasmanian tiger in captivity, which sadly occurred in Hobart in 1936.

It was a tragic loss and everyone in Australia is working hard to make sure the Tasmanian devil doesn’t follow in the tiger’s footsteps.

I have been to two animal sanctuaries here in Australia but the Bonorong Wildlife sanctuary gave me the opportunity to be up close with the animals.

Bonorong houses 17 fantastic devils. A number of their devils are hand-reared and have amazing personalities. I thought these devils were evil animals based on their namesakes. Devils are a very misunderstood animal. I was utterly amazed when I saw how friendly and playful the devils were with their keeper.

As you can see, this devil lost one of his legs. Bonorong assists injured and orphaned wildlife and even gives support line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I spotted this devil with a joey. Population of devils were not a problem before the Europeans arrived. Traditionally their numbers were controlled by food availability, competition with other devils and quolls, loss of habitat, persecution and roadkills. But the greatest recent threat to devils across Tasmania is the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

Around 70 percent of the Tasmanian devil population disappeared as a result of the disease, and if the current rate of decline continues, devils could become extinct in the wild in 30 to 50 years, says Elizabeth Murchison, now a postdoctoral researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England. Murchison, a native of Tasmania who grew up seeing devils in the wild.

The Tasmanian devil can still be saved from possible extinction. Securing a population of healthy devils, away from disease, in zoos, wildlife parks and free range enclosures around Australia is something that is being done now. Looking after this population over the next 25-50 years, while continuing the fight to maintain devils in the wild may help but it costs a lot of money. There is this one site that shows you “How can we save the Tasmanian devil? One devil at a time!”

I wonder if these devils will suffer the same fate as the Tassie Tigers. It would be sad to see animals get extinct. I hopped on to Kangaroo country which lifted up my spirits. The kangaroos seemed a bit intimidating at first but I got the hang of it as soon as I knew how to feed them.

I learned females are safer to feed but I caught a male kangaroo wanting to be fed. Scary so I just threw food in his direction.

It is amazing how these kangaroos can be friendly. They are also gentle with the children.

Seeing a baby kangaroo is just so heart warming. The joey seems so cozy with her mommy.

It would be great if the Philippines have an animal sanctuary instead of a zoo. People will learn to appreciate the animals and learn to protect them.

I would have never appreciated any of these experiences if it were not for my daughter  who wanted to visit these wonderful animals.

The Philippines should have a similar sanctuary and wildlife park for all our threatened species.

Wait, our marine life is already threatened. When is the Philippine’s National Threatened Species Day ? Do we even have one?

Most of the photos here by my daughter using a Nikon D7000. Some photos are from my iphone though

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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