Hopes high for devil history

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 03 April 2013 | 19.55

EXCITED wildlife authorities will know by the end of the week if two female Tasmanian devils sent to Denmark will create history.

Copenhagen Zoo has confirmed that both females sent from Mole Creek to Scandanavia in 2009 have mated and are displaying signs they are pregnant.

Director of research and conservation at Copenhagen Zoo, Bengt Holst, said both females had mated with their male partners in late February.

Mr Holst said the zoo would know by the end of the week if the devils are set to become the first of their species to breed outside of Australia.

"Since mating both females have changed their behaviour considerably, having become much more aggressive towards the males," Mr Holst said.

"After three weeks they both started building nests - behaviours characteristic of pregnant females.

"We don't know yet if the matings have resulted in pregnancies, and in births three weeks ago, since we don't physically check the pouches but await other signs to occur naturally.

"But we know that if they are not pregnant the females will come into estrus again at the end of this week which will then be obvious.

"Right now everything looks like two pregnancies but there are no guarantees until we see the actual results."

The four captive-bred devils from Trowunna Wildlife Park, which landed in Denmark in 2009, followed two others sent in 2006 to mark the birth of Prince Christian, the first child of Crown Prince Frederick and Tasmanian-born Crown Princess Mary.

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