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Devil Ark Conservation Facility Provides Life Saving Milk for Humanity

Source: Devil Ark
Archived 18 Dec 2016 - Posted: 19 Oct 2016
Ironically, whilst trying to save the Tasmanian devil from a cancer that is leading them to extinction, Devil Ark conservation facility has provided the milk for Sydney Universities research that has found a new weapon in the fight against superbugs harmful to humans.

Researchers discovered Tasmanian devil milk contains peptides that can kill some of man kind’s most deadly drug resistant bacterial and fungal infections, including skin infections such as golden staph.

Devil Ark General Manager, Tim Faulkner, and the conservation team at Devil Ark were responsible for milking a number of female devils whilst lactating to provide the milk for this study.

“It’s truly rewarding to be a part of the process for this research, but also very exciting as conservationists that the animal we’re trying to save from extinction could save human lives," said Faulkner.

“The most common question I’m asked as a result of these findings is how did you milk a Tasmanian devil?  The process was as simple as a routine health inspection we carry out at Devil Ark for all lactating mums. 

“Milking a Tasmanian devil is quick and stress free.  Towards the end of lactation, when the young are suckling periodically, we gently massage the female devils mammary glands then with a long stroke of the teat the milk flows freely and is captured.

“It’s very similar to how a cow is milked but on a much smaller scale.  I can even say I have tried Tasmanian devil milk and it's warm and much thicker than cow’s milk.”

The devil milk peptides come from a family of antimicrobials called cathelicidins, which act as natural antibiotics.  All animals have them, but Tasmanian devils have six varieties, while humans have just one.

Devil Ark through the process of providing a future and hope for the Tasmanian devil has now contributed to science in a profound way.    This could present future hope for the Tasmanian devil as a species, if mankind becomes reliant on it. 

Devil Ark looks forward to further collaboration and opportunities for both species  - Tasmanian devils and humans in this published research.

This article archived 18 Dec 2016

 
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