Run, Levi, run!

Tassie Devil Runs 2016 02 09

Here it is: the pick-me-up you need to get you through your weekly quagmire. The teeny-tiny sprinter might look like a puppy who's just discovered the joy of the chase, but this furry ball of cuteness is actually a baby Tasmanian devil getting his daily dose of exercise at Devil Ark, a conservation breeding facility for these endangered creatures.

Levi is one of two joeys being hand-reared to become Devil Ark’s new animal ambassadors. The short clip was posted to YouTube by local wildlife expert Tim Faulkner, who is also the facility's general manager.

"Levi is eight months old and it's time that he starts to see the big outside world, but he isn't too sure," Faulkner tells Australian Geographic. "That's why he is chasing me – he wants back in his pouch! But he does need the exercise." 

Levi is just one tiny resident at the Ark, which is home to more than 150 devils, including a batch of 37 joeys that arrived last year. Rearing the youngsters is a round-the-clock job – one that involves many daily bottle feeds of "wombaroo", a special milk formula designed to give these native marsupials the high-fat nourishment they would get from their mothers' milk in the wild. 

Tasmanian devil populations are in dire straits, making breeding facilities like the Ark essential for the survival of the species. Devil numbers have plummeted by more than 90% since 1996, when the first case of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) was discovered. Cancerous tumours caused by DFTD have been wiping out these carnivorous marsupials at an alarming rate.

"Genetic diversity is rapidly diminishing in Tasmania, so at Devil Ark, we are breeding an insurance population of healthy, disease-free devils to preserve the species," writes the team.

For more about Devil Ark's conservation work, head on over to their website. And because we know four sprinting daredevils are cuter than one, we shall leave you with this:

Now I know you all loved the video of my Tasmanain devil joey shadow chasing me around the paddock at Devil Ark! But here is four times the cuteness - our devil joeys at The Australian Reptile Park can't help but follow me around our staff lunch room! Say hi to Hank, Tank, Bandit and Calamity and watch them having a play and getting fed!Like and share if you think they are adorable!

Posted by Tim Faulkner on Saturday, October 17, 2015
Tasmanian Devil Related 2016 02 09


Top header image: Sy, Flickr