West Oz Wildlife’s Beth Mullany is excited to welcome two new additions to their family : a pair of southern hairy-nosed wombats from Adelaide.
Ms Mullany said the wombat’s mother was hit by a car on the Nullabor, which is a common occurrence Ms Mullany hopes to raise awareness of.
“They have a pouch, and when the mums are hit the babies are really well-protected, but they can only live with their mum dead for about a day,” Ms Mullany said.
“Some tourists saw the mum dead and found the joeys in the pouch, and then they go to carers, but because they’ve been hand raised they can’t be re-released, so they have to go into programs like ours.”
When she picked them up from Adelaide the wombats were too young to fly on a plane, so Ms Mullany and her partner had to drive them back across the Nullabor to their facility in Karnup.
“I think we got back in like thirty hours or something,” she said.
“We had to pull over and stay at a motel, so then we had to like, sneak these wombats into the motel, it was like something out of a movie... and then we slept ‘til when the sun came up, and drove home.”
At fifteen months now, the wombats weigh 15 kilograms each, and have started to show distinct personalities.
“One of them, Annie, is cuddly, she’s a sook… whereas Kenzi, she’s a lot more independent, she doesn’t really like being fussed over,” Ms Mullany said.
After five months of growing and settling in, the wombats have just started joining the other West Oz Wildlife animals on visits to schools, community groups and retirement homes, for educational and therapy sessions.
“It’s just amazing what the animals can do for people... it really makes what we do worthwhile,” Ms Mullany said.
“We do talks with them, teach people about the struggles they’re having in the wild, and it’s very hands on.
“It’s all good telling someone about an animal, and what they’re facing, and that they’re endangered, but if they actually get to see the animal up close, they get to have that experience with them, they fall in love with them, they will then want to save them as well.”
West Oz Wildlife are subject to strict regulations to ensure the animal’s welfare, and operate under environment department licenses.
“Everything is rotated, we have five koalas, three dingoes, and everything is on a very strict roster, just for welfare of the animals, to make sure they get their rest days,” Ms Mullany said.
“Every animal we have is a part of our family.”