Devil program hit by $2m funding cut

RESEARCH to save the Tasmanian devil being conducted at Mount Pleasant Laboratories has been ``severely restricted'' due to federal funding cuts.

Since the federal government pulled the $2 million in annual funding in July the Launceston laboratory has been forced to downsize its core monitoring, fencing, captive management, testing and research.

Yesterday Environment Minister Brian Wightman said the department was looking at options for reallocating staff. It is unclear what the full impact on staff will be.

Mr Wightman said without federal government support many programs run by Save the Tasmanian Devil Program were in jeopardy.  

``The reduced funding currently available to the program is severely restricting its activities,'' Mr Wightman said.

He said the state government was lobbying the federal government to reconsider the cut.

Mr Wightman said the Tasmanian Liberals had called for the Tasmanian devil to be considered as the animal emblem for the state.

``While I agree on this move the critical choice for the devil now is not whether we choose it as an emblem but whether the Abbott government continues to put it at risk by withholding critical funding,'' Mr Wightman said.

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has been investigating ways to provide priority services within the reduced budget.

Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth accused the state and federal governments of  giving up on trying to find the cause and cure of the disease. 

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