Wildlife rescuers are calling on the government to stop issuing wombat culling permits as the often fatal sarcoptic mange continues to devastate the population in Northern Tasmania.
Despite the state government’s efforts to save wombats from the deadly disease, the Primary Industries Department is still issuing permits, allowing farmers to kill up to 50 animals on their properties.
Mange is present throughout the state, but has most noticeably affected populations in the West Tamar and Narawntapu National Park.
A department spokesman said permits were considered on a case-by-case basis, and followed a site visit to the applicant’s property.
“Wombats are a protected species but the department recognises at times they can cause impacts on farm areas. The department prioritises non-lethal measures being identified to manage the impacts of wombats on farmland.
“The department has put measures in place to ensure a permit allowing for the culling of a wombat is only considered as a method of last resort.
“Permits will only be considered on a case-by-case basis and following a site visit to the applicant’s property that clearly identifies the impact that wombats may be having on the site and that non-lethal measures aren’t available or suitable.”
Wombat Warriors wildlife educator Lauren Faulkner has so far visited Glen Dhu and Perth primary schools to talk to students about sarcoptic mange.
“I became involved with the Wombat Warriors when I heard media reports of how the situation at Narawntapu and Kelso was worsening,” she said.
“The main message I want to send is that wombats can be treated – there just needs to be a willingness to do so. I would like to see the government adopt the precautionary principle here, and stop issuing cull permits for healthy wombats until we know the real extent of the problem at the very least.
“The school presentations are important because children are genuinely connected to the environment and wildlife. This educational program we take into the schools is a way to empower children with simple ways they can personally help.”