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December 2016

Grace:  Rescued by Christine in Taralga, after mum was run over. Grace was not very well, we spent the afternoon at Crookwell vet doing what we could under the instuctions of Dr Howard Ralph. Then an all day trip to Dr Howard when he was at his Hayfield clinic.  She was unable to stand for long and waking backwards in circles when she could.  She had a head injury (treated to reduce swelling on the brain) with her middle ear eye socket and collar bone all fractured, as well as being blind ue to swelling. All recoverable. So she was kept pain free  and also on Valium to reduce stress and anxiety.  Feb 2017 Update; It’s been a long road by 8 weeks she’s walking forwards, can see quite well and from the very beginning has just loved her grass.  She’s very scared of the other Little wombats whom we hope to buddy her up with what we know as ‘the crazy’s’ but that will come in time.     George and Luna: Both came into care in April. Both their mums were hit by cars and they will be in care close to 2 years. Erin their rescuer and carer has done a great job getting them to 5kg before handing them on to us. They started in their big wombat box in the nursery room and progressed outside and are now in their new enclosure. They have a choice of 2 burrows or their box, they discuss where to sleep after their lunchtime bottles! They don’t always sleep in their big bag together, often just lie on each other in a pile as wombats do, they are total buddies. Luna has such a pointy nose, she’s a character. They run around like Looney Tunes, and are also growing fast. Such little cuties!   Jules and  Pfundalee Jules arrived in April 2016 at a very skinny 5 kg. He was found by Jules, a very dedicated park ranger, after reports of a foul smell coming from a swimming canyon. After wading and swimming up she found a dead mum and a very thin scared little wombat on a sandbank. He’d probably been there 10 days or more, so he’s a lucky boy. He took some time to settle down, charging and headbutting his box when we opened the lid to feed him, but slow calm persistence saw a calm happy wombat 2 months later. Pfundalee was rescued by a Swiss couple and named ‘small loaf’ in Swiss. Her mum was run over and Kerstin cared for her till she came to buddy up with Jules in August. It took them a bit of time to make friends, but they’re great now and moved up to the big wombatorium in late October (i.e. wombat high school and release from here) and got a new self-feeding water tank. After the renovation between wombats there is now some good grass growing and with all the rain we ended up putting a donated (thanks Nev!) carport up over a burrow and feeding area that just was not deep enough to give a dry place with the amounts of rain we were getting over winter. Really hands-off now and they’re enjoying the big space and now moving on to grow wild for release at the end of summer probably.   Spoke Spoke arrived in Feb 2016, and is a example of why WOMBATS ARE NOT PETS!  Spoke, who should be 18-20kg, was only 12kg, but did have a shiny coat! Lucky we had a vet staying at the time of his arrival, and she confirmed the dog smell of his poo was due to what he had been fed, dog biscuits. These are high in vitamin D and can be fatal, they cause calcium build-up in the heart and arteries. We don’t now how Spoke’s heart is. He was named Spoke as it’s short for bicycle wheel, because he’s been around a few carers who were not his long-term solution. Long claws, no muscles, a very very sad fellow. Very scared with a very good bite on him. Having bitten Warwick’s finger he would just hang on! Now he’s safe in his own dirt floor shed full of straw, (mesh on front) a box and bag, even a burrow and a yard out front to eat. He finally took a bottle and after 6 weeks finally ate cut grass, just digs up grass in the front yard and throws it over his back, and generally behaves like a dog. It’s been a long slow road for this little fellow. Finally in September (7 months it took!) Spoke started eating growing grass, so we extended his space to half the wombatorium and a second outside burrow. He seems calmer and was really interested, and is systematically trying to dig his way out around the perimeter. He’s pooing outside his burrow, which is not normal behaviour, it’s normally done hidden well away from the burrow. But at least he’s sleeping outside in it. We’re feeding him with cut grass still rather than relying on him to find his own. He would not last long in the wild at this stage as he’s too small, and not eating enough grass yet. When he arrived he looked a funny shape, as he’s simply very thin and with nothing much in the way of muscles. But he’s been madly digging, so time will be the great healer. Wombats eat grass, wombats get fat eating grass, wombats are designed to eat grass. Why feed them anything else? Very specifically, pellets made for GRASS eaters and with the right stuff in them for wombats in small quantities is ok. Carrots have way too much sugar and wreck the gut flora, and as for sweet potato, oats, dog food, cat food all that stuff is like living on Red Bull, or cocaine! It completely stuffs them up. They become addicted to that kind of food, and they are hungry because their gut flora has changed and they no longer get nutrition from grass! Also carrots baited with 1080 are dropped from helicopters to kill wild pigs and goats, so no matter where you think your wombat might be released he could end up at the wrong end of a 1080 carrot! March 2017 update on spoke, after 12 months here and all he can eat he’s only about 16-17 kg he should be so much bigger now, he’s constantly digging but not eating as much grass as he should by a long way. He’s still happy to take your fingers off and we are disscussing how best to release him as he’s quite dangerous.   Wally, Trevor and Ray of sunshine These guys buddied up straight away as each arrived, sleeping in a pile together in their box. Wally has come from Erin at around 5 kg who raises our little ones for us to 5kg, he’s well mannered, and totally bonkers, running around smashing into things when he gets excited. We call it ‘fish on a hook’ the way he shakes his head and throws himself around in excitement. We love mad wombats. He’s growing much faster than the others and we think he will be a really big wombat. He has the advantage of only having a few scrapes from the road when mum was killed and no real issues with his health. Ray of sunshine was found in a paddock at around 4.5 kg with his dead mum, she had been shot. He was very very stressed, and a nightmare to feed, it took about 6 weeks before he was drinking and not taking an hour to do so!  He’s still shyer than the other two and his feeding has improved, but if he’s not interested that’s that, absolutely no point in getting him and yourself covered in milk, and stressed in an attempt to feed. He has plenty of grass and water.  Little Trevor has had a hard start to life, his mum was killed on the road and it was some time before he was found, thin, very ill and covered in ticks. He was picked up near Goulburn and taken to Sydney and ended up in care with vet nurse and wildlife carer Mandi and vet Dr Terry, it was touch and go if he would make it. Finally, after lots of care, it was time at around 3 kg to come back to near where he was found and buddy up with some wombats his size. He’s very cuddly. He had a hiccup along the way, getting a raging temperature—the amazing Dr Howard Ralph was able to prescribe what was needed to save his life again. All better now, the 3 Amigos are a team and seem to grow at an alarming rate!   Benny the red-necked wallaby Benny was rescued in August 2015 when his mum ran into a grey water tank and died. He was still in her pouch and just furring up. Suddenly on Christmas Eve we noticed he was getting cateracts and in 10 days he was blind, just seeing light and dark. We understand it can be hereditary—and given his mum, from a standing position, turned and ran into a large water tank and killed herself, it seems likely to us. We were able to get a ophthalmic vet who is trying to perfect her surgery on kangaroos to do the cataract operation. It’s taking a while but vision has been slowly returning to one eye. Meantime he’s managing very well following us around for long walks (thongs make a great noise) and he knows his outdoor yard and the area outside this and his 1km walk. We started researching this, apparently it’s more common than we knew and macropods kept in zoos etc. are tested for genes for blindness and not allowed to mate if affected. We will never allow our wildlife to suffer or be stressed. Benny needs to have enough sight to manage in the wild (as per our Licence with NPWS all animals must be releasable) even if it’s just in the immediate area here. He’s still improving and loves his punching bag. He had a little red-necked buddy, Tink, who after 2 months appeared to have a stroke (confirmed by vets) and died it was very sad. Often injuries received when they were orphaned become an issue as they grow. December 2016 It’s been a mad Spring here, as well as taking over as Wombat co-ordinator for the Southern Highlands as well as the Southern Tableland’s we have had heaps of rain and animals coming in.   Jeffery: Had been with Emma and Ray, their first wombat, he stopped pooing and ended up down seeing the wonderful Dr Howard Ralph. He has a small swelling on his spinal disk probably from when mum was hi by the car. It just happens to be right where the nerves are that effect the bowel. So he’s now under my care, in consultation with Dr Howard.

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