We have saved over 10,000 wombats since our commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating these wonderful creatures.
Wombats Per Year
Each year through donations and volunteers, we are able to support over 1800 Southern Hairy-Nose Wombats.
We Care For Up To 90 Wombats At Any One Time
We have the resources and ability to care for up to 90 wombats at one time, providing a safe environment for them.
For Their Survival
Revegetation programs are put in place to ensure the survival and conservation of our wombats and habitat.
Wombat Awareness Organisation (WAO) was founded by Brigitte Stevens, in 2006. Brigitte’s entire adult career has been working within zoo’s in QLD. She started as a Native Mammal keeper at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, then moved onto becoming and Wildlife Supervisor, then Curator of several other zoo’s. Her passion has been Australian wildlife. In 2005, Brigitte became the sole care giver to a Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey, from a breeding program in the zoo she was curator of. She named him Barney.
Wombats in zoo’s are generally bored and controlled and become aggressive or fearful. Barney was so tiny and had not yet witnessed such a life. He was affectionate, smart and trusting. Brigitte soon saw the injustice of captive wombats and was determined to not let Barney succumb to such a life.
As fate would have it, Barney became unwell with the unsuitable environment that QLD is to this species of wombat. After gaining advice from specialists, Brigitte decided to relocate with Barney to the correct environment in South Australia.
In 2007, Brigitte quickly realised that no one was rescuing or advocating wombats and with her expertise of running zoo’s, invested everything she had into creating a safe sanctuary for injured, orphaned, misplaced, unwanted and unreleasable wombats. The sanctuary is the largest of its kind in the world.
Brigitte is the leading activist for greater protection and better treatment of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats live in one of the harshest environments in the world. With little rainfall, soaring temperatures in isolated areas of South Australia, survival is very tough.
Scientists have blamed climate change for a 70% decrease in certain populations in less than ten years (IUCN). Wombats are also extremely territorial and wombats that are removed from their territory for over a month, lose their place making their reintroduction to the wild non-viable.
For these reasons, wombats that require long term rehabilitation need somewhere safe to live out their lives as they please whilst teaching us about them. WAO built a sanctuary for such wombats.
The sanctuary is a former hippy commune with four houses, on 50 acres.
The wombats have the opportunity to live in the huge burrow systems which they have created or they can sleep on the lounge or beds inside. All houses provide heating and cooling making it a very welcoming environment for the wombats. Both Clare and Brigitte live on-site and the wombats visit them frequently, especially if they aren’t feeling well.
The sanctuary is separated into two areas, one for wild wombats who really enjoy living in safety in their large family groups. These wombats are happily breeding themselves and creating their own families.
The other section is for wombats with special needs. These wombats have suffered some trauma either psychological or physical and require ongoing support. These wombats still have the opportunity to live as they please in a loving and supportive environment.
Our wombats are our teachers and are vital for the conservation and promotion of this incredible animal.
Brigitte Stevens began rescuing wildlife at a young age. She began her career in 1998 under Steve Irwin at Australia Zoo where she specialised in native mammals. After several years, Brigitte took on a Wildlife Supervisor role in a wildlife park, then further moved into a curatorial role in a zoo in Brisbane holding all permits for a vast range of native animals. This is where she met her first orphan Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat named Barney. Brigitte fell in love with Barney who had a plethora of health issues.
Clare Jans began volunteering at a Wildlife Park where Brigitte was the Supervisor. She was just 12 years old. Clare was dedicated to looking after and caring for wildlife that she continued to rescue, rehabilitate and volunteer her time to help them. Clare then undertook a bachelor’s in Wildlife Science and on completion, she joined Brigitte in South Australia in 2009 and she dedicated her life to helping wombats. Clare is currently living with and looking after over 40 wombats at the sanctuary.