YESTERDAY Minister for Tasmanian Tourism, Paula Wriedt entered a press conference hand in hand with the unreal Taz — Warner Brothers’ version of the Tasmanian Devil.

According to press releases, Warner Bros. agreed to give the rights to the State Government to use the Taz image to raise funds for Devil Facial Tumour; they hope to sell fluffy toy Tazs.

Taz was created in the mid-1950s and as a 1950s baby-boomer myself I recalled Taz’s appearances in WB cartoons with Bugs Bunny.

It all came back to me — the scene of laconic Bugs chomping on a carrot, tapping his foot as a whirlwind of spin and loud noise approaches rapidly from over the horizon. Taz finally stops spinning, flailing his arms, spitting, his jaws and tongue moving threateningly to consume the rabbit.

In his typical Bronx American Bugs says: “Naaaar, what’s up Doc. Dis ain’t da road to Albuquerque!”
 
This is Looney Tunes coming true!

On 12 June it was mooted that Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque was the next overseas zoo to receive Tasmanian Devils. Get ‘em while they’re hot, hot, HOT!

I believe this deal with Warner Brothers is more about a tourism opportunity for Tasmania than the best interests of the Tasmanian Devil as a species facing extinction in the wild. That would be trivializing a serious issue confronting Tasmania’s ecology.

According to the estimates the money generated from the sale of these toys and gimmicks is quite small compared to the research funds already provided by the State and Commonwealth government so far.

Whilst the research funds and international interest in this extremely serious infectious cancer in our Tasmanian Devil are welcome, let’s not just exploit the likely extinction of a species as a PR exercise for Tasmania.
 

David Obendorf

This is Looney Tunes coming true! On 12 June it was mooted that Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque was the next overseas zoo to receive Tasmanian Devils. Get ‘em while they’re hot, hot, HOT! I believe this deal with Warner Brothers is more about a tourism opportunity for Tasmania than the best interests of the Tasmanian Devil as a species facing extinction in the wild. That would be trivializing a serious issue confronting Tasmania’s ecology.