Or should that have an extra ‘wombat’ in the title? Four hand-raised orphaned wombat boys are the first to experience the pre-release enclosures at Docsden. These gorgeous boys had a rough start in life but are now ready to learn to be wild wombats and go out into the big wide world.
Wombats are comparatively easy to raise, given the correct care, compared to macropods (kangaroos and wallabies). However, whereas roos can be released straight into the wild and will join a mob, wombats need to learn a whole new set of skills, such as burrow etiquette.
Burrows are shared, but not at the same time (except with orphaned joeys who are buddied up, or a joey with its mother). However, a wombat will rotate among many burrows, and other wombats will occupy the one recently left by another. So it is important for wombats to find out if anyone is ‘at home’ before going down a burrow.
Although they are not strictly territorial, fights can break out between wombats, over food sources, favourite burrows, females, or any number of other reasons. They have poor eyesight so rely heavily on smell and hearing, as well as touch from sensitive whiskers. Living in an enclosure before being released gives hand-raised wombats a chance to safely explore a new territory as well as learn the local smells and sounds of their new environment.
Thanks to Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue for their initial care, and the Humane Society International for their generous grant to build these pre-release enclosures, Bill, Buddy, Rossco and Maddy have a good chance at a long, healthy and wild life in their natural environment. More news on their progress soon!