The Devil’s Lair

Darryl and Stig (AKA “The Wild Orchid Man”) were in Tasmania looking for wild orchids, with the goal of making a documentary film. But of course, beyond the orchids were the strange and wonderful animals that evolved in that geographic environment. What about the Tasmanian devil? Could we find on, and if so, in the wild?

The devils of Tasmania were near the top of the food chain, with fiercely strong teeth and a killer instinct. They might have done a nice job of controlling the exploding population of rabbits, stoats, and feral cats, but were not very lucky. In addition to being hunted, they developed a rare form of contagious mouth cancer in recent decades, which became lethal. The Tasmanian government, along with private wildlife parks, began scrambling to protect the remaining populations. Here is one we met at such a park:

A healthy Tasmanian Devil.
A healthy Tasmanian Devil.

Nothing quite illustrates the juncture of humans and evolution as a trip through Tasmania. From the beginning of White immigration there was wholesale slaughter of indigenous populations of humans and animals. No thought was taken for preservation or protection.

What is my responsibility for this? I do not know. I do know that I have some. It is incumbent upon me to continue searching for that in the New Year 2018.

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