Logie-award winning actress Bonnie Sveen has travelled widely in her acting career, and while she regularly returns home to Tasmania, this time it’s on a very special mission.
The former Home and Away and The Secret Daughter star has taken her role as Ambassador for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal (STDA) to a new level as the face of its recently launched 2018 appeal, encouraging the community to continue its generous support as research for the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) reaches a critical point.
As well as featuring in a campaign on Southern Cross TV, Bonnie has also undertaken a personal mission to learn more about Tassie’s iconic animal - meeting with the Tasmanian devil research team at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research to get the latest updates on the development of a one-shot vaccine.
“Hearing that this mysterious, fatal disease could mean the end of our precious Tassie devil was heartbreaking to me, however, I’ve been amazed by the progress of the vaccine trials over the past few years," Bonnie said.
In recent years, the Menzies research team has been giving trial vaccines to a number of devils, releasing them into the wild then re-capturing and testing them. Promisingly, some showed an immune response to the illness.
“This disease is complex and the devils are still under threat, [so] the next few years are critical as more work is needed to refine the vaccine,” Bonnie said.
“It is because of donations to the Devil Appeal that the research team has been able to carry on with their ground-breaking work. This is why I am passionate about raising awareness - so that together we can continue to raise money to fund this critical work.”
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is administered by the University of Tasmania and in the past twelve months alone has funded $1m worth of research and conservation programs through public donations.
To make a secure online donation to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal please visit: www.utasalumni.org.au/devil-appeal.