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Hairy-nosed wombat, South Australia - rescue effort well worth supporting

http://wombatawareness.com/2015/02/UPDATE 26-02-2015 - The millionaire bequest fell through! Brigitte and the wombats of South Australia are now facing a truly awful situation. She has set up a donation site in absolute desperation, no amount too small: https://www.chuffed.org/project/wombatssoontobehomeless and we hope our readers will spread this news. No-one else is helping the wombats in SA on a large scale and long term; wombats are starving, dying of mange and being killed by cars and farmers. As you know they are adorable and precious... and really worth saving. Thanks for any help.

The strange and unforgivable decline in wombat appreciation in the 20th century


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The reputation of the wombat declined over the 20th century and is now at an unforgivable all time low. People may be interested to read "Rossetti's Wombat: A Pre-Raphaelite Obsession in Victorian England". This lecture by Harold White Fellow, Angus Trumble, at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 16 April, 2003, gives a little-known history of wombat appreciation in Britain by 19th century poets, who called the wombat "the most beautiful creature of all". Here is a quote from a description written about 200 years ago, about a pet wombat which was taken to England (not that we approve the kidnapping of wombats to England):

"The wombat, burrowed in the ground whenever it had an opportunity, and covered itself in the earth with surprising quickness. It was quiet during the day, but constantly in motion in the night: was very sensible to cold; ate all kinds of vegetables; but was particularly fond of new hay, which it ate stalk by stalk, taking it into its mouth like a beaver, by small bits at a time. It was not wanting in intelligence, and appeared attached to those to whom it was accustomed, and who were kind to it. When it saw them, it would put up its forepaws on the knee, and when taken up would sleep in the lap. It allowed children to pull and carry it about, and when it bit them did not appear to do it in anger or with violence."

Whilst we do not approve of kidnapping wombats, we do approve the peaceful and positive interaction with them and wonder why it does not happen more frequently in Australia. Perhaps it is because we have been misled by our governments and education system to believe that they are unapproachable. Maybe this is another case for Gloria O'Possum to investigate.

Wombat Awareness Organisation Ltd., Research Conservation Education Rescue Unit

A hairy-nosed wombat community at Portee Station where this rare and persecuted animal is being rehabilitated and protected.

The site of the Wombat Awareness Organisation Ltd., Research Conservation Education Rescue Unit tells the rest of the 20th and 21st century story and that is where to go to purchase a little piece of outback Australia for the wonderful hairy-nosed wombat.
Here is a delightful film (link has been updated to new address)about this wombat refugee community in South Australia, run by Brigitte Stevens and her partner, Frank Mikela. It certainly bears out the earlier reputation of the wombat as a lovable and cuddly animal.

You may also sponsor a wombat, like this one, called, "Turty"

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It is great to see a big effort being made to help wombats and the people who care for them with such dedication.

UPDATE September 21, 2010Millionaire bequest due in 12 months - but money urgently needed now

Brigitte Stevens still needs funding urgently, but urgently only for another 12 months or so, when the release of the first million dollar installment of an $8m bequest is scheduled to come through. Only recently has the news arrived that a US horse-racing millionaire has left to this organisation for wombats!

The millionaire's family has chosen to remain anonymous. According to Kim Wheatley, "US millionaire leaves estate to Wombat Awareness Organisation, the millionaire visited the organisation a couple of years ago to meet wild wombats.

He was shown the shameful conditions in which the South Australian government's laws and wildlife monitoring have reduced the wild population.

"I took him out into the wild population and showed him wombats with mange, wombats that were starving to death and wombats with burrows from motorbike tyres," she said.

Brigitte has another paid job just to pay the bills the organisation generates. According to Kim Wheatley's article, last year's vet fees amounted to $70,000. Now Brigitte hopes to buy two new properties and to run a 24 hour free veterinary advice clinic.

Ms Stevens - who works to help pay bills, including last year's $70,000 vet fees - wants to buy two properties in the Murraylands and run a 24-hour free vet advice phone clinic. But she is having trouble simply maintaining the Wombat Awareness Organisation at the minute, since the first installment of this bequest is still a long way off - around 12 months.

Please consider helping these kind and dedicated people to make it through to the time this windfall arrives.

Comments

Thank you Sheila for raising awareness of this serious problem affecting our wildlife and for bringing attention to the efforts of the Wombat Awareness Organisation. I shall take an interest in the organisation's activities hereon and contribute to its important cause.

I note the site identifies the following problems:

"Some people just don't like sharing their properties with native animals and even when they cause no harm, these people want to kill them as if they don't feel pain or have a will to live."

"Government regulators still issue licenses to kill without insisting property owners try alternative ways of solving problems first."

"No regulating of culling is undertaken"

"These same government bodies that undertake no research, misinterpret what little there is, have no monitoring or welfare programs to assist wombats with mange, make unsubstantiated claims about population numbers, mange and behavioural issues like relocatability to justify culling."

"Most of the world and certainly most Australians think wombats are "protected", but this isn't true. We tell the Government that most people's idea of "Protection" doesn't match how laws pertaining to Australia's Native animals are applied... Most normal humane people believe if a native animal is "protected" is should be afforded some rights.

"Were anyone in Australia to walk out and shoot all the neighbourhood dogs they would be charged. Not so when the same is done to all the wombats in an area. If the dog shooter was a lousy shot or didn't know what they were doing (as many people who shoot wombats don't), and one of the dogs crawled into a kennel and died slowly over days, they'd be pilloried even by the hard hearted. Not so when it happens to a wombat. If the dog was a bitch and her pup died slowly over days from starvation, the shooter would end up in jail. Not so when same happens to a wombat's joey."

"Protecting animals is more than the simple minded conservation paradigm that says if there's quite a few of them, don't bother about them. Only the ones that we are on the very edge of losing are worth our time. Most people think protecting animals means not letting them get to the brink of extinction."

SOURCE: http://www.wombatawareness.com/main/page_wombat_petition_.html

Last weekend, along a 50km stretch of the Castlereagh Highway west of Sydney I passed by half a dozen roadkilled kangaroos/wallabies and three roadkilled wombats laying upright in the all too familar rigamortis position. It is a crying disgrace that humans continue to kill and maime Australian wildlife.

Governments manage to find hundreds of millions to build expressways, yet cry poor when it comes to calls for thousands to construct protective fencing wildlife along highways to prevent roadkill. Australia's political priorities remain neo-colonial and are harmful and sickening.