According to park owner, Androo Kelly, the cancer has been confirmed as the transmissible facial tumour after cancer biopsy samples in mid-March. As this is a “notifiable disease” under the Tasmanian Animal Health Act. Department of Primary Industry & Water sent out a veterinarian to the park and the Department’s own animal health laboratory undertook the tests to confirm the DFTD diagnosis. It is almost certain that Tasmanian CVO was alerted as soon as the DFTD diagnosis was confirmed.
Apparently the DPIW Save the Devil Program manager claims he was unaware of this case at this devil park but on Tuesday (31 March) this week the Tasmania’s Chief Veterinary officer, Rod Andrewartha confirmed Trowunna had a new case of DFTD. No media release has been put out from the Government or the Tasmanian CVO. Surprisingly, Tasmania’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrewartha was not granted permission to speak to interested Tasmanian journalists and the Government spokespersons dismissed media queries regarding this outbreak as merely an issue for the Wildlife Park. What nonsense!
This confirmation will affect the park’s ability to move devils to zoos and wildlife parks in Tasmania and inter state. At the very least the Department needs to undertake a full audit of the biosecurity measures at the park including the capability for captive devils to escape and infectious wild devils gaining entry.
One wonders why the Tasmanian Government and the Department charged with responsibility for animal health & biosecurity would be so secretive and blasé about this new outbreak.
A wildlife park in northern Tasmania has recorded its second outbreak of devil facial tumour disease in three years. The detection of another devil a 6 year old female - named Kindred - infected with the transmissible facial cancer means that all devils in contact with her whilst she was infectious will potentially have been exposed.