HELLO THERE CUTIE
AN IMPORTANT member of the St George community has finally made a public appearance after spending a year in its mother’s pouch.
The northern hairy-nosed wombat joey, which is more of a toddler than a newborn, has been captured on camera scurrying around the burrow.
It is estimated the joey’s birth date was about this time last year.
Wombats spend a long time in the pouch before taking to the world.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said this new addition to the Richard Underwood Nature Reserve was a cause for celebration because the northern hairy-nosed wombat was so rare.
“The only known colonies are here in Queensland,” she said.
“Each birth increases the chances of survival of this unique threatened species.
“In 2009, experts believed there were only 138 of this species left in the wild, and since then we have seen the total Queensland population increase to about 250, which is wonderful.”
St George is one of only two places these wombats call home.
The only other known location of the elusive mammals is in Epping Forest National Park, near Clermont.
Both reserves have been established to support each other in species preservation, and the department is in the process of finding a third colony location.
Department of Environment and Science director general Jamie Merrick hinted at the possibly of a third colony being established nearby.
“The success of the breeding program in St George has prompted us to set up a third colony,” he said.
“The southwest provides the best wombat habitat because of the sandy soil and eucalypt forests.”
❝ The only known colonies are here in Queensland — Leeanne Enoch
HELLO THERE: This young northern hairy-nosed wombat was captured on a night-vision camera at Richard Underwood Nature Reserve near St George last week.