When Freya Wild first heard about the plight of the Tasmanian Devil on a trip to the Australian Reptile Park with her parents in 2014, she wanted to help.
The Year 2 student at Holy Innocents’ Catholic Primary Croydon has now raised $1,200 to help fund conservation efforts for the Tassie Devil population, which is in decline because of a facial tumour disease specific to the species. The disease is one of the only known cancers that is contagious and has decimated about 90 per cent of the Tasmanian devil population since it was first discovered in 1996.
“Me and my mum and dad went to a show and they were talking about the Tasmanian Devils, and how they had a terrible cancer,” said Freya, 7. “On the way home I felt very sorry for them. I asked [principal] Mrs Bestulic if I could set up a stall for gold coin donations at school and she said I could, so I set up a stall near the canteen and everyone gave a gold coin donation.
Freya said her parents had also been very supportive of her efforts. “I went around to people at my mum and dad’s job and they donated too. It helped a lot.”
Freya is monitoring the Tasmanian Devil’s situation through not-for-profit organisation Devil’s Ark, which is behind many efforts to save the marsupials. “They are breeding Tasmanian devils so they can send them back into the wild,” Freya said.