For those of us who got involved, one way or another, with Australian wildlife, every journey is different. I fell in love with wombats after meeting a little joey in a zoo. When I held this little ball of energy, I knew my life was changed forever.
But circumstance intervened and I underwent upheaval after upheaval and when it finally started to calm a little, I found myself adrift, without a purpose or cause and I remembered what I felt when I held that little wombat.
So I became involved in doing volunteer work with wombats and very soon started to realise that it’s not just an animal that you can do a little volunteer work for, but that the species is in trouble. More trouble than most realise.
Orphan after orphan comes into the various sanctuaries across Australia. For some, there are days where four or five arrive in a day. The amount of wombats being killed on the roads is staggering. So Wombat Rescue was born.
I started driving on random roads through rural New South Wales in search of wombats that were hit by cars that day, or shot by farmers or hunters and left to die. My drives are usually between dusk and dawn and and started as a monthly event which very quickly escalated to fortnightly, then weekly trips as the need out there is far greater than what I am able to help.
Working with wombats taught me so much about this country. The beauty and rarity of marsupials that can be found nowhere on earth other than here. The dark and hidden truth of how some perceive these animals as a threat, a pest.
My long-term goal is conservation, working with wombats, and educating people, children and young adults in particular, about the innocent beauty these animals have, and how desperately they need us to help them.
But short-term, I am all about rescue work. This is where my drive lies. I can’t explain it…the hours are long, the roads are dark, I get tired, but the work brings a joy I have not experienced before.
Every animal that I find has a story I wish I could tell. The best I can do is to give them some dignity in their death, making sure they are not suffering anymore, getting them off the road and checking the pouch and making sure their little one is safe.
Through Wombat Rescue’s operations, I was alerted to the plight of some very sick and manged wombats in a reserve. I simply could not say no, could not leave them to die a slow and horrible death. So began a long journey of mange treatment for these wombats.
It is rewarding to go out every week, and spend hours in the bush, sighting them grazing on the very little grass they can find (we are in the worst drought in decades) and giving them life saving treatment. The bare-nosed wombat is at risk, whether you believe it or not.
Through mange which is spreading like wildfire, cars killing them on the roads and farmers shooting them in droves, the species simply cannot survive this onslaught. It is up to us to stop this trend, to help them, to educate and teach.
Maybe one day I will be able to afford a piece of farmland where I can build enclosures for the wombats I rescue and others that desperately need to come into care.
This is where the greatest need lies….not enough sanctuaries to look after these precious animals.
I want to save them all, and although I can’t, perhaps I can save a few..
One human, one wombat at a time.