A Day In The Life
A day in the life at Devil Ark – Dean Reid, Devil Ark Manager
Everyday at Devil Ark is different.
I am up at 5:30 am daily to feed my 2 little joeys, Levi and Diva, which I am hand-raising to be Devil Ark’s new Ambassadors. They are a handful and like newborn babies, require constant care and attention (not that I love it of course!!) They get 4 bottle feeds a day of ‘Wombaroo’, a special milk formula for native species especially marsupials, high in fat content to replicate mother’s milk. It’s great for growing baby animals! Then, like any good ‘house-husband’ I put on a load of washing of all the joey’s bedding and pouches (like babies, they go through quite a lot of washing). Time for a quick coffee and breakfast before getting onsite by 7:30 am
On a daily basis, I do a perimeter check of the entire Devil Ark facility to ensure that we haven’t had any fallen trees on the fences and there have been no devil escapees. Devil Ark’s 13 free-range enclosures are surrounded by 25 km2 of fencing. The outside perimeter has been set up with 6 traps just in case we have had a few ‘dare-devils’ trying to be Houdini and explore beyond their 2-hectare enclosures. If so, they will be found in the traps. To date, that has not happened – I think they have no need for further exploration in their naturally wild enclosures.
At 8 am, I will start the morning round. This generally entails going into each enclosure, picking up the bones from the feed the night before, cleaning out and refilling the water tanks and an observational check on the devils.
At around 9:30 I will do some random jobs that change on a daily basis which could range from habitat maintenance, restoration, painting, cleaning the breeding enclosures and checking and tending on sick or injured devils. I find time for a quick coffee break and respond to emails, communicate with the rest of the team and catch up on other things on my growing “To Do” list.
At lunchtime it’s time to feed the joeys again – and yes, they are always hungry, and so am! After lunch, I do the food preparation for the devils. I chop all the meat (generally ethically sourced kangaroo) and weigh the meat specific for each enclosure. For example each devil gets 500 grams of meat a day so in an enclosure containing 10 devils, they will receive around 5 – 5.5kg of meat a day. We also have one ‘starve’ night during the week and that is to simulate natural feeding patterns in the wild.
At 3pm, I will go back to onsite and do the ‘feed out’ for all 13 enclosures and the 10 intensive breeding enclosures. Whilst they are enjoying their feed, I will count and observe the devils. 4.30pm is generally time to knock-off, but…as this is not a normal 9-5 job, there is always more to do…. 6 pm and it’s time to feed Diva and Levi again and maybe have a hard-earned glass of wine. Who says that life is not to be enjoyed? After a bit of downtime and dinner, time to catch up on more paperwork, including social media updates and general business before the final joey feed at 10 pm before going to bed…phew, I am tired!
Each day and week is different. Sometimes we have visits from the team, vets and/or project partners. I may also have to do on-site visits to schools supporting us through our “Feed a Devil” day or visit our business partners. On a monthly basis, I also conduct the monthly Devils in the Wild Tour, which is open to the general public and a chance for our supporters to see the great work we do here at Devil Ark.
Dean Reid, Devil Ark Manager