VIDEO: THE deadly animal mite, mange, will never be eradicated from Tasmania and finding a cure is unlikely, wildlife experts say.
This week, the University of Tasmania announced that more than half of Narawntapu National Park’s wombat population – north-west of Launceston – had been wiped out by the parasite.
Mange latches on to a host animal, wearing it down and killing it slowly. It has been known to affect dogs, wallabies and even humans.
A spokesman from the state government’s Resource Management and Conservation Division said combating the spread of the parasites was difficult.
‘‘Total eradication of mange would be unlikely as this would need to focus on combating the mite which causes the symptoms for wombats,’’ he said.
‘‘The biology of this species, its distribution and abundance statewide means that this condition only affects localised areas in Tasmania, meaning that this will not threaten the existence of wombats in Tasmania. Treating wild populations is extremely problematic and no lasting cure is likely.’’
Trowunna Wildlife Park owner Androo Kelly said he wasn’t concerned about the spread of mange.
‘‘It’s a horrible thing and it will always rear its ugly skin,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s part of the environment.
‘‘We haven’t seen it here since the ’80s and over time you will see a surge in mange, often followed by a surge in wombat numbers.
‘‘Personally, I don’t think it will have a long-term effect on the species.’’