A new exhibition charting the life and times of the Tasmanian devil is opening on Friday in Hobart and curators hope it will consolidate a change in public attitude towards the animal.
The Remarkable Tasmanian Devil exhibition spans three galleries at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) and explores the ecology and biology, along with the public perception of the devil through time.
“The history of the animal is quite interesting because it really was perceived as being a pest, a threat to livelihoods and agriculture, fierce and nasty and over time that’s changed,” senior curator Kathryn Medlock said.
“I’m really hoping the public will gain a new respect of this animal and broaden their perspective on why it is such a remarkable species that has overcome the odds.
“So far it’s overcome persecution in the 19th century and early 20th century, devil facial tumour disease — it’s still ticking along, however there are things that could happen down the track that could still threaten its survival.”
The devil’s image has been transformed in recent years through publicity surrounding the devastating Tasmanian Devil facial tumour disease.
Wildlife biologist and TMAG honorary curator Nick Mooney said it was important that new attitude was consolidated.
“Now that they’ve had a brush with extinction and they’re very rare, people are more interested,” he said.
“It’s a great pity the animal had to become really rare to spike that interest, but it has and we need to take advantage of it.”
An educational program has been created alongside the exhibition and school programs are planned.
David Pemberton from the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program said greater publicity would also assist the conservation of the devil.
“It’s a remarkable exhibition about a remarkable animal and people coming to see it are definitely going to learn more,” Dr Pemberton said.
“The more you learn, the more you’re interested, the more action there might be to assist with its recovery.”