Kathy Marks, The Independent

The devil’s fate has stirred strong emotions in a place still mourning the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, which was hunted to extinction in the 1930s. Many Australians refuse to believe that the tiger is extinct, and sightings are regularly reported.

While the deal with Taz’s creators is expected to inject at least £80,000 into the research programme on the disease, not everyone has welcomed it. David Obendorf, a veterinarian and wildlife researcher, said this week that the use of a cartoon character trivialised a disease with such a devastating impact.

Some observers have suggested that the spraying of pesticides by the island’s farming and forestry industries, combined with genetic weaknesses in the devils, may have been the catalyst for the cancer. Plantation forests in Tasmania are sprayed with chemicals, while the poison 1080, which is banned in large parts of the world, is used to kill rabbits.

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What David Obendorf said: Taz and spin