Kelso wombat sanctuary work begins

NATURE: Wombat Warriors president Stephen Jones, of Kelso, with T.C, a young wombat that is being treated and rehabilitated for mange. Pictures: Zona Black

NATURE: Wombat Warriors president Stephen Jones, of Kelso, with T.C, a young wombat that is being treated and rehabilitated for mange. Pictures: Zona Black

Work will begin next month on a new wombat sanctuary at Kelso, in the West Tamar.

The sanctuary’s creation comes as sarcoptic mange continues its devastating path throughout the wombat population of Northern Tasmania.

Mange is present throughout the state, but has most noticeably affected populations in the West Tamar, and Narawntapu National Park.

The sanctuary will be built at the rear of Stephen Jones and Brendan Dredge’s Kelso property, and will be a temporary home for mange-affected wombats while they are being treated and rehabilitated.

It will be bolstered by part of the $100,000 of funding to tackle the disease, which was announced by  Environment Minister Matthew Groom earlier this month.

CARE: Brendan Dredge feeds Xavier the wombat.

CARE: Brendan Dredge feeds Xavier the wombat.

Wombat Warriors (incorporated with Wombat Rescue Tasmania) is the community group that has been tackling the disease in the West Tamar.

Founder John Harris said that were still relying on the greater community to deliver goods and manpower to help build the sanctuary.

He estimates that it will cost $31,000 in materials to build the 12-pen sanctuary.

“If we get all the building materials supplied, we can use the grant money on food and (mange treatment) Cydectin,” Mr Harris said.

Mr Jones (group president) and Mr Dredge welcomed wombats into their lives about nine months ago, when they could no longer ignore the number of sick animals there were seeing in the area.

Mr Dredge became a qualified carer, and they became involved in the grass-roots warriors group.

The group tackled the disease by installing flap-guards around wombats’ burrows, which drops Cydectin on them when they move in or out.

They estimate that they have treated up to 150 wombats.

They still have two wombats in their care, who are in the recovery stages from mange.

When they are rehabilitated, they will be released into the wild.

Mr Dredge said it would not be an easy day – they’re grown attached to T.C and Xavier.

“It’ll be very different coming out here and not seeing him, that’s for sure,” Mr Dredge said, as he hand-fed Xavier.

Anyone who is able to supply building materials, like tin sheets and treated pine posts, can contact Wombat Warriors via Facebook.

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