Back in January I got the most amazing opportunity to help volunteer with wild Tasmanian Devil monitoring in North West Tasmania. Thanks to Channing at The Carnivore Conservancy I got the chance to witness these amazing animals up close and personal in their natural habitat and it was everything you could ever hope it would be. I was setting up my acoustic recording equipment at a couple of our trapping sites to hopefully record some of the vocals of the devils in the area.
Us volunteers were there to help move the devils from their comfy traps to the even comfier sacks, and help with scribing measurements and basically being the helpful assistants passing things over for micro-chipping etc. It wasn't all glamorous though. As the volunteers we were tasked with making sure all the traps were clean and sanitary for their next occupant, and let me tell you, some of those traps were absolutely filthy!! But we gladly did it. After all, it was the experience of a lifetime and who cares about a little (ok a lot) of poo anyway?
We had a few regulars at some of the trap sites and we got just a little bit attached. One particularly robust male by the name of Arcturus especially made his way into our hearts and we looked forward to seeing him each morning, and he even inspired our team name for the trip. The most special part of the trip for me was on the last day. It was an especially long day because our second volunteer had had to leave early so it was just the two of us, cleaning every trap and packing them back into the trailer. We had more devils that day than any other day of the trip, go figure. But on that day we had one of the most adorable female 2 year olds waiting for us. Her name was Lucinda and she was quite small and oh so cute! When we had finished processing her measurements we let her out of the sack and instead of running away she paused and looked directly into my camera. She looked around for a bit, tried to hide under a felled tree trunk, and in it, before she finally made her way back into the bush and on her way. It was one of those truly magical moments that all biologists and animal lovers treasure.