tampabay.com

Bugs, Daffy to help Tasmanian devils in wild

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 29, 2007


Warner Bros. will donate money from the sale of DVDs featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck to help efforts to save the Tasmanian devil from extinction, an Australian official says. The Looney Tunes character Taz - a whirling, growling rival to Bugs Bunny - is based on the Australian marsupial, which is being threatened by contagious cancer in its homeland, the island state of Tasmania. State Tourism, Arts and Environment Minister Paula Wriedt said Warner Bros. had struck a deal with the government to donate one Australian dollar - the equivalent of 82 cents - for each sale from a new series of DVDs to be released in Australia featuring the company's cartoon characters. Proceeds would be donated to a fund managed by the University of Tasmania to help the animals, Wriedt said in a statement.

A cancer epidemic

The fox-like animals with powerful jaws and a bloodcurdling growl are being wiped out by a cancer that creates grotesque facial tumors. The disease was first noticed in the mid 1990s in Tasmania's northeast, where 90 percent of the devils have since perished. It is spreading south and west, and scientists estimate that within five years, there will be no disease-free population in Tasmania, the only place in the world where the animals exist outside zoos. Programs to try to save them include plans to relocate breeding pairs to island sanctuaries.