Start Milking Tasmanian Devils

Until this afternoon, if asked to draw or describe a Tasmanian Devil my best guess would have resembled Bugs Bunny’s cartoon nemesis. Animated Saturday morning impressions – enormous mouth, exaggerated teeth, wild eyes, muscular body, large torso and pointy ears.

An image search did little to vanquish childhood assumptions. Other than black not brown, ears pinkishly rounded and tail longer than recollection, Taz appeared much as expected. Moving forward demanded a wiki search.

Who knew Tasmanian Devils were listed as an endangered species in 2008? Or that since the late 90’s drastic population decline was attributed to devil facial tumor disease? Enter a link to Tim Stark at Devil Ark. Located in New South Wales, Australia Devil Ark is a non-profit organization dedicated to preservation of Tasmanian Devils.

For the sake of brevity I’ll get to the point – milk from Tasmanian Devils contain peptides capable of wiping out antibiotic resistant superbugs. Obvious considerations such as how do you milk a devilish marsupial, or why ponder doing so in the first place aside – this is news.

Overuse of antibiotics and hand sanitizing germaphobia are bacterial microbes wet dream. It’s too easy, all they have to do is mutate as we flub about in a cloud of assertive ignorance. Oblivious to hundreds of thousand superbug casualties each year, we wake up every morning convinced humanity is invincible. Along comes Tim Stark, director of a non profit Tasmanian Devil preservation society, a man struggling to save obscure cartoon marsupials from terminal face cancer extinction. A man who milked Tasmanian Devils and stumbled upon a cure for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

3 thoughts on “Start Milking Tasmanian Devils

  1. I lived in Oz for a while and visited tasmania. Devils – as they are known there – are considered vicious creatures though much cherished because they are among the few surviving uniquely Tasmanian species. The discovery about their milk will probably save them – and us! – from extinction 🙂

  2. Oh, I loved this. The vision of milking “a devilish marsupial” is just too much!

    I suspect that the Devils are not the only creature we have threatened with extinction, or succeeded in wiping from the planet’s face, which can/could do great good if we only knew how to co-exist with them. It seems that so often when we interfere with Momma Nature we may reap temporary rewards but in the long run we have screwed ourselves and the process of un-making the mess we made is always worse.

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