It's actually kind of cute, don't you think?
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was given its common name by early European settlers, who were haunted at night by the sound of its spine-chilling screeches and demonic growls.
The largest of the living marsupial carnivores (and Australia's only specialized mammalian scavenger), the Tasmanian devil resembles a robustly-built, small dog with powerful jaws and a set of large, strong teeth.
Its head is broad, its tail is thick, and its coarse, black fur often has irregular-shaped white blazes across the chest, shoulders and rump.
Despite its name, appearance and reputation, the Tasmanian devil is actually a shy, wary creature. As for the reputed bad temper it's mostly bluff. Since many individuals can feed simultaneously on a large carcass, a feisty display is an attempt to intimidate others and thus avoid a fight.
Tasmanian Devils are currently very endangered, as they are suffering from a strange form of cancer, one that is infectious, i.e., it can be transmitted from one animal to another through contact.
The disease is devastating the population of this already endangered species and if some cure is not found quickly, the species will go extinct.
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is the formal fundraising arm of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, aimed at saving the Tasmanian devil from the devastating effects of the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a unique contagious cancer, spread by biting, which is consistently fatal. Administered by the UTAS Foundation, this Appeal has raised more than half a million dollars in corporate and public support for the devil, funding 34 research grants and scholarships to date, to a value of over $336,000. The next grant round closes 28 February 2009. All donations to this Appeal are directed IN FULL towards research and management programs across the globe endorsed by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. Donations are tax deductible.
The discovery of Cedric, the disease resistant Devil was a project funded by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal. Sadly Cedric contracted a second, mutated strain of the cancer last month.
To find out more about this program and to find out how you can help, visit tassiedevil.com.au.
There is one other way you can help and get something for your money. Amanda Fontaine is a Digital Scrap designer and she has put together a "Devilish" charity scrap kit. You can purchase the kit for $4 and the proceeds to to the Save the Tassie Devil fund. To purchase the kit - which is only available until March 1st - visit Imalittledevil.blogspot.com.
My bean already buy this kit today and we will be using it in projects soon.
If a way to stop this disease cannot be found within the next two years, the Devil will likely go extinct in the wild within the next 20 years.