A cancer that spreads from one animal to another has wiped out about 70 percent of the population of Tasmanian devils (one shown).

When most people hear the name, “Tasmanian Devil”, they automatically think of the cartoon character, “Taz”. The article titled, “The Nerve of One Animal”, deals with real Tasmanian Devils (pictured on the left), who mostly live in Tasmania, an Australian island. These cute little creatures are suffering from “devil facial tumor disease” (DFTD). This disease causes large tumors to grow on the devil’s face, especially around the mouth. Eventually, the tumors can eventually get large enough to interfere with the devil’s eating and, in time, the animal dies. To make matters worse, DFTD is highly contagious. Since the Tasmanian Devils bite each other when they play, the disease is spread very easily. Scientists now know where the disease comes from and they are trying to create a vaccine before it gets too serious. This disease has been around since 1996. If the scientists are unsuccessful and DFTD is not treated, Tasmanian Devils will be extinct in 30-50 years.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think the scientists should do to help the Tasmanian Devils right now while they are waiting for a vaccine to be created?

2. How do you think the people of Tasmania feel about the fact that the Tasmanian Devils are dying of an uncurable cancer?

3. Do you think scientists will be able to come through with a vaccine to save the Tasmanian Devils before they go extinct?


~ by Student Entry on January 29, 2010.

6 Responses to “THE NERVE OF ONE ANIMAL- by Micaiah B.”

  1. It’s very sad that DFTD is affecting the Tasmian Devil. Scientists are working to create a vaccine and stop the spread of this terrible disease. During development of the vaccine, scientists may consider separating a population of healthy animals from diseased ones that can be bred in captivity to preserve the species. Hopefully, the world will continue to enjoy the presence of the Tasmanian Devil.

  2. I always thought that the tasmaanian devil was a myth, or just a cartoon, and i never knew that they were a real animal. I think that the scientists can seporate the tasmain devils while they come up with a vaccine. They can put them in a place just like their natural emviormnent. They can make a repleca’s for each of the animals, and then they would feel like they are home, while the disease wont be spread. I think people of Tasmainia are probably upset about the many deaths of the creatures. It is kind of thier own special animal, because it is named after thier island, and they only live on that island. Knowing what amazing things scientists have already come up with, i do think they will be able to find a cure. They better hurry up and find a cure ASAP!

  3. While the scientists wait for a vacine for the Tasmanian Devils, they could separate them, so that they don’t bite each other in their play.
    I think that the people of Tasmania are upset and disturbed by the current disease that has hit the tasmanian devils, especially since that so far there is no cure. I’m sure that they aren’t happy, because the animals look so cute and harmless (unless they aren’t).
    I’m not sure if the scientists will come up with a cure for the tasmanian devils, but I sure hope they do. They shouldn’t have to die, when it’s not their fault.

  4. In the process of waiting for a vaccine to be created, I think scientists should somehow stop the Tasmanian Devils from biting eachother. That way, the disease wouldn’t spread as quick as it currently does. I think the people of Tasmania would feel just as I would feel: not happy. The Tasmanian Devils are extremely cute and to watch them die like that is just terrible. I don’t exactly think that the scientist will come up with a cure in time, but they do have a chance to! Hopefully, the scientists will come up with a cure in time to save those poor little animals.

  5. I thought that this article was very interesting and informative. I think that scientists should train the Tasmanian Devils to stop biting each other. If that doesn’t work, the scientists should separate them. I think that the people of Tasmania will feel so sad for all of these cute animals that are dying. I know that I feel that way. I am not sure that scientists will create a vaccine for the Tasmanian Devils before they go extinct but they might be able to! I hope that scientists are able to save the Tasmanian Devil’s lives.

  6. I think they should help because you should not just wait for the vaccine, you should find more knowlegde about the topic so that you could improve the vaccine if it it not effective.

    The people of tasmaina probably are sad that they have their animal dying and they cannot do a thing about it.

    I think it depends if the dieases kills the animal quickly or not, because it if kills them quickly they might not have enough time. But if it death rate is slow than they probably will come out with the vaccince

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