FOUR Tasmanian devils will head to San Diego Zoo in the US in late October, the first of 20 bound for overseas zoos and parks in the next six months.
Environment Minister Brian Wightman announced the pilot program in June, and yesterday revealed the first of the zoos to receive the devils.
Four will be sent to Albuquerque Biopark in New Mexico, and four each to New Zealand's Wellington Zoo, Orana Park in Christchurch, and Auckland Zoo.
The international program will raise awareness of the devils' plight, and contribute to the $5 million annual cost of maintaining the insurance populations.
The chosen devils must be genetically over-represented in their population or at the end of their breeding life.
Wellington Zoo life science manager Elise Kovac was in Launceston this week attending a prerequisite Tasmanian devil husbandry program, before receiving the devils later this year.
``We're thrilled to be a part of the Save the Devils program - it's a great opportunity to be directly involved,'' she said.
The program will be expanded to include around 10 zoos in North America and 10 in Europe.
Mr Wightman said he was disappointed by a failed bid for $4 million over four years from the federal government for the Save the Devils program, which is fighting against the deadly devil facial tumour disease, but said he would continue to lobby the Commonwealth for future funding.
There are now 550 healthy devils living in insurance populations in zoos and wildlife parks across Australia.