Wombat Watch: Week 1

Baby wombats orphaned by the Victoria bushfires are in good hands. Stay tuned to the AG Blog as Kylie Piper keeps an eye on them.

In February 2009, bushfires swept through Victoria, destroying towns and lives during the day that has come to be known as Black Saturday.

By Kylie Piper November 7, 2013 Reading Time: < 1 Print this page

In February 2009, bushfires swept through Victoria, destroying towns and lives during the day that has come to be known as Black Saturday.

Estimates of animals killed by the fires were put at over one million with entire ecosystems devastated across Victoria.

In the days and weeks following the fires, Wildlife Victoria was inundated by calls from the people finding wildlife affected by the flames or smoke, or native animals simply displaced by fires that had burnt through their home range. Many wildlife shelters were destroyed during the fires making rescue efforts very difficult. Injured wildlife had to be transported further a field to ensure proper and timely treatment.

Long after the flames had died, Wildlife Victoria Search and Rescue teams have carried on their efforts around the fire affected areas. Months after the fires, orphaned animals continue to appear often malnourished and without the care of parents. These orphans need special care to survive.

Annie Williams is a wildlife carer in Darraweit Guim, a small town situated about an hour’s drive north of Melbourne. Annie, who has years of experience caring for native wildlife, has taken some of the orphans under her wing. Three baby female wombats were found by search and rescue teams and taken to the Darraweit Guim sanctuary to help them rebuild their strength.

Wombalano, named by the children of Darraweit Guim Primary School, is the smallest of the three. She was just 5.2 kg when she arrived into Annie’s care on 10 April, almost two months after the fires. Small burn marks were evident on her skin and she was extremely malnourished and dehydrated. At only 40 cm in length, she needs constant care to ensure she will be strong enough to be released back into the wild.