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Sympathy for the devil – part three

Jack Ashby3 March 2011

A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 6

From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account  of my time in the field.

Weeks Six and Seven

Over the past two weeks I’ve described a project involving trapping Tasmanian devils to study Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). My next fieldwork looked at the effect of the devil population crash on other mammals. I had a some time before then so I decided to walk over the middle third of the island on the amazing Overland Track through the mountainous wilderness of the UNESCO World Heritage Area. (more…)

Sympathy for the devil – part two

Jack Ashby24 February 2011

A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 5

From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account  of my time in the field.

Week Five

Last week I described Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), and the population that was being studied by the University of Tasmania (UTas) which seems to be showing some positive immune response. I joined them early in the Tasmanian winter to trap devils in the population, monitor the spread of the cancer take blood samples and measurements. This is how we did it… (more…)

Sympathy for the devil – part one

Jack Ashby17 February 2011

 
 

 


 

Winter in the Tasmanian Highlands

At night it would reach -10 degrees in the Highlands

From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account  of my time in the field.

Week Four

The next stage of my trip took me to Tasmania – my favourite place in the world. This was the research project I was most looking forward to – to trap Tasmanian devils and attempt to investigate a ray of hope in their battle with a contagious cancer. Devils are a badger-sized marsupial with a bit of a rep. They do hunt things up to the size of a small wallaby, but are best known for their skills at scavenging. They can eat every part of the carcass and have an impressive set of teeth. I once saw one climbing out of the anus of a dead pademelon, while two others were working their way in through the back. (more…)