Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Devil Of A Cause

Authors really are wonderful people! When one of the authors in the Extinct anthology proposed donating some of the proceeds to a charity, everyone jumped in with suggestions. Mind you, not one suggestion was 'No.'

Literacy and endangered animal charities quickly rose to the top as it became clear a relevant cause would make it easier for readers to see the connection between the charity and the book. So when the Australian contigency of authors quite vocally promoted the idea we put resources toward the endangered Tasmanian devil, the rest of us unanimously agreed.

Tasmanian devils are such a unique and iconic animal! Yet their population has been in rapid decline, having lost an estimated 80% in the past 15 years. A highly contagious Devil Facial Tumour Disease -- one of just a few cancers in any species that can be spread among individuals through contact such as biting -- is taking a devastating toll. Stop the disease and save a species. Here's an opportunity to prevent an extinction through proper disease management, selective breeding and the eventual rewilding of healthy insurance populations across Tasmania where the devils are needed for keeping fox populations in check.

The 19 authors of the Extinct anthology and myself hope you'll help support the work of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. From July 1 through 15 all proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the devils. If you've already bought the book (thank you!), consider gifting a copy to your high school or library.

On the fence about whether to participate? Ask yourself this important question: What would Bugs do?

Art design by Kyle Aisteach, Extinct author.


Wilkins MacQueen said...

I thought these beasties were extinct. Am I happy to be wrong. Turns out they passed on from the mainland about 400 hundred years ago for reasons that had nothing to do with human settlement. Interesting reading about them and a great cause.

I think wolverines are the closest thing in Canada to the devils for scrap value. (They aren't marsupials of course.)

I hope they make it off the endangered list. Critical time for the planet these days.

vkw said...

I am buying the book. I was waiting to get my current reading list under control but now I have no choice.

Kind hearted writers. . . .you're pretty awesome.

One thing to really consider as these poor things are dying of a cancer than can be transmitted from one animal to the next. Think for just a second what if the answer to eradicating cancer completely from the human species lies in curing the cancer in the devils? Farfetched? Maybe. . but maybe it isn't. And if these animals become extinct how would we ever know?

I don't want to know what a bug would do. I want to know why they won't leave my flowers alone!


Wilkins MacQueen said...

One biologist from the region said unless all the infected animals were culled like yesterday the animals were headed out.

Amazing to read a little of the science behind the epidemic. Small gene pool being made smaller. Body not recognizing the cancer and so on. Her comment about every small population being at risk for who knows what really hit me. Sad state. I figure with the oceans near co2 saturation we're looking at catastrophic conditions. Add in the recent tsunami contamination and well, there it is.

We're got massive coral reef die offs due to increased water temperatures here.

I admire the writers making the donation possible. Talented and caring for the planet. Class act.

Xenith said...

Now that's a cause I can't object too :)

(Humans introduced dingos, so they were responsible for eradicating devils from the mainland, just not humans of British origin. Yet.)

Still room in your query queue for one more?

Phoenix Sullivan said...

@Mac and vkw: I think you're absolutely right that study of outlier diseases, like transmissible cancers, may well be key to unlocking the secrets of traditional disease. "The exception proving the rule" type thing.

@Xenith: Still open to a couple more queries from new readers. But for old-time friends like you, the door will remain open. Just cutting back on the crits, not abandoning them completely :o) No rush if you want to send something.