Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Watch out for Wombats - on the roads.

Please watch out for Wombats, on the roads at night.

I stopped to drag the corpse of a freshly killed Wombat off the side of Tourist Road today (down in Kangaloon). They are sufficiently large that even when dead, they pose a traffic hazard, if left lying just on the edge of the road. On that road, passing vehicles usually run with two wheels on the dirt, while passing). In my opinion a large animal right on the edge of the bitumen, as this one was, poses a risk to traffic. So I stopped to drag the body away to the edge of the road.

As I did, I rolled the body over to check if it was male or female. Female, she was. And clearly had been carrying a "joey" (a baby Wombat) for her pouch was very large - but empty. I looked around, and then found the dead joey, two metres away. As the mother had died where she was lying (from the blood stains on the ground) the joey had presumably crawled just two metres away, before it also died.

I was so angry to see this gorgeous young thing, dead before it had become independent of its mother. Normally I do not photograph road killed Wombats, but I decided to take this photo - to make a point. I moved the Mother off the road, and put the Joey with its Mum.

From a Wombat site I found the following notes on dead Wombats.
The local Wombat rescue service is the Wingecarribee Branch of WIRES, and their phone number is (02) 4862 1788. Links to all NSW regional branches of WIRES may be found here at this link.

In an emergency, if you live in New South Wales, call WIRES on 13000WIRES or 1300 094 737.
Wombats have a slow metabolic rate, and breed slowly. According to some reports, female Wombats do not start to breed till they are 3 or 4 years old, and then normally only breed every second year. So, that's a slow rate of reproduction. If we keep on killing them on the roads at the rate of this year, then one day the Wombat will be an endangered species - even around Robertson. Locals seem to regard them as vermin, which is most unfortunate.

This particular Wombat had been in wonderful condition, with a lovely healthy joey. It is a great shame that she was killed, and with the Mother dead, her Joey was probably doomed anyway, but it was killed outright. Bugger!


Anonymous said...

Hello Denis

I've just been looking through your blog and saw the photograph of a dead wombat and her dead joey. Such a gut wrenching photo.

I noticed that you placed a link to my web site so people can learn how to safely remove a joey from the pouch of it's dead mother - thank you!

Denis, would you mind if I used your photograph in my wombat training material?

If so, can you please email me?

Thanks so much.

Fourth Crossing Wildlife

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Linda

I would be delighted, and honoured.
As you can see from, my Blog Posting about this incident, I was really angry.
If the death of this pair of Wombats, Mother and Child can be put to good effect, go for it.