Providing the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat with an environment free from torture is a new concept. They inhabit remote regions with small populations – it’s quite hard to believe that they need to be on the receiving end of cruelty. For some reason, these wombats seem to be at blame for many of the areas faults. They are blamed for erosion, they are blamed for eating crops in an area infested with rabbits, they are blamed for using the walkways they have used for thousands of years, they are blamed for poor fencing and the list goes on. They have been given little value in the community despite being vital for the survival of many other species of protected wildlife including echidna’s, small mammals, lizards and snakes who also rely on their burrows to live.
Wombats have the largest brain to body size ration of any marsupial; it is safe to assume that they are our smartest native mammal. Many who work closely with wombats would argue that they are smarter than dogs and we have even been told by many a farmer’s wife who has raised ‘Southerns’ that “they are the closest thing to raising a human baby” so why on earth are they treated so poorly?
Offenders of wombat cruelty are not limited to farmers: landholders, holiday house owners, lifestyle property owners (motorbike riders and campers) have all been culprits of what most would consider torture. Wombats are buried alive, burrows are detonated, petrol is poured down burrow systems and entire warrens are filled with toxic poisons. Wombats are also run down, attacked by dogs and shot for fun by city slickers. How can this be stopped?
Wombat cruelty can be stopped, firstly the government needs to withdraw permits to legally kill wombats and set an example to the community that they are a fully protected species. Councils and contractors are then to be notified that their current practices are illegal and unacceptable.
Wombat warrens are to become protected…did you know that burrows can be destroyed by anyone at anytime without any consequences?
A general person is left to determine that there is no living animal down a burrow before it is destroyed which is impossible.
It is also accepted when wombat burrows are illegally poisoned that they can be mistaken for rabbit warrens which if you have seen the two, you would know there can be no mistaking.
Most importantly the community needs to report cruelty to wombats. This can be done by reporting to WAO or the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.