When you’re a Tasmanian devil at Auckland Zoo, turning six involves not only a special juicy birthday treat, but also a geriatric health check. Herod passed his check with flying colours, but not without escaping a follow up dental appointment.
In zoos Tasmanian devils can live to be around seven, whereas in the wild their fights for food and territory mean their life expectancy is no more than five years of age. Once widespread throughout Australia, devils are now only found in Tasmania due to danger and competition from larger predators, and their biggest threat – the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) that emerged in 1996. Sadly, there is no cure, but scientists and researchers are working hard to help secure a future for Tasmanian devils. Herod is part of an insurance population for his endangered species.