Wombat alert for weed hit
WOMBAT rescue volunteers in the northern town of Kelso are fuming after burrows were buried and burnt as part of a gorse-clearing exercise on privately owned land.
Wombat Warriors say there were about 13 wombats living on the land but none have been seen alive since the clearing took place.
A photo of a dead wombat with singed and blackened fur found on a Kelso street was posted on Wombat Warriors’ Facebook page.
Many of the wombats were being treated or had previously been treated for sarcoptic mange, a disease spreading from the North across wombat populations statewide.
Kelso has been one of the hardest hit areas and volunteers have been erecting “burrow flaps” to drench infected wombats and “hospitals” were established to isolate and treat infected animals.
At Narawntapu National Park the wombat population has been cut from hundreds to less than 10.
The group is hoping other parcels of land that house healing wombats will be bought by conservation groups to ensure more burrows are not impacted in the same way.
In an email, a volunteer said she had spoken to the new owners of the 16ha block and explained many treated wombats lived in the gorse.
“I know they have a right to clear gorse, but do believe a small portion where the burrows were could have been left intact,” the volunteer said.
“A dozer was used to push gorse, and 13 wombats and their young were never seen again. Burning has been carried out continuously since.”
A spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment said staff would speak to landowners to ensure they were aware of wombats. The discussion will canvass options to control gorse, a declared weed.
Last month a rally called on the State Government to stop issuing permits for landowners to shoot wombats and delivered a petition with more than 33,000 signatures.
For more on gorseclearing methods go to www. dpipwe.tas.gov.au/ invasive-species/weeds.