When 10-year-old Rory Hobbs first saw the Tasmanian devils at Taronga Zoo and heard about their fight against the devastating Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), she knew what her mission would be.
“On my very first trip to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo I was listening to my mum read out the information signs when we came across the Tasmanian devil enclosure,” Rory said.
“After I heard about Tasmanian devils and the disease that was and still is wiping them out, my heart broke for them and I wanted to save them from DFTD so badly.”
“Suddenly, I knew I would be donating.”
Based in Sydney, Rory and her family originally came from Raleigh, North Carolina in the USA.
For the past five years Rory has asked for donations instead of presents for all her birthdays and so far, has raised more than $2000 for the University of Tasmania’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal and Devils@Cradle Wildlife Park at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania’s Central Highlands.
“I raised all of this money from my best friends’ generous donations and the donations of family friends on Facebook,” Rory said.
“I felt as though I was doing something really good and it made me feel so happy to know that I would be helping with research that may make devils immune to DFTD,” she said.
Rory recently came to Tasmania to visit Devils@Cradle and to get close to the animals she loves, which she described as a “dream come true.”
Determined to raise as much as she can to support research into DFTD, Rory encouraged others to join the cause through donations and by protecting Tasmanian devils in the wild by driving more carefully on our roads.
“I love Tasmanian devils so much and it means so much that other people are trying as hard as I am to save their species,” she said.
“Tasmania is a beautiful place with amazing animals, but one piece is missing and that is the Tasmanian devils who have almost become extinct.”
Proud mum Kelly said Rory’s fundraising focus had been a fantastic learning experience for her daughter.
“For these past five years, Rory has felt a part of something bigger than herself and seen the way that little efforts can add up to something big,” she said.
“Learning that she can be a part of the solution to a bigger problem that she sees in the world is an invaluable skill.
“Rory has moved on to doing her own research and reporting on the Tasmanian devils for school reports and it’s been amazing to watch her passion and dedication grow.”
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal (STDA) is the central fundraiser for the Tasmanian devil, administered through the University of Tasmania.
“Donors like Rory are inspirational,” said the University’s Associate Director of Fundraising, Rebecca Cuthill.
“Every dollar that Rory has raised directly helps the research being run through the University, funding programs like the devil vaccine research and on-the-ground monitoring programs.”
“We are so thankful for her support, Tasmanian devils need more young advocates like Rory if we can achieve our aim of securing a future, in the wild, for our iconic animals” she added.
If Rory’s story has inspired you to donate, please visit http://www.utas.edu.au/giving/areas-to-support/research/devil