Skip links and keyboard navigation

Latest news

Unsettling times for the second colony

Third mother with pouch young  Photo:  EHP

Third mother with pouch young Photo: EHP

In early 2012 there was excitement over the discovery of a third pouch young for the second northern hairy-nosed wombat colony at Richard Underwood Nature Refuge. But the excitement was not to last, as the third pouch young failed to complete its pouch development stage. Several months shy of the joeys expected emergence date (predicted as around September) the mother exited her burrow without a pouch young. Rangers waited expectantly for a joey to emerge from the burrow, assuming its development stage may have been miscalculated. Enough time has since passed and the mother has moved on from her burrow, indicating that there is no longer a third joey.

There was also the unfortunate loss of an adult male in July. Cause of death was due to infection following fly strike of existing scratches obtained through territorial fighting with another wombat. As a result of his weakened state he contracted pneumonia. The unseasonal wet weather was thought to have contributed to his illness.

While these deaths are significant to the small colony, they are a harsh reality of nature and are providing rangers with new information that will assist with the future management of this species.

Baby boom at Epping Forest National Park

Mother and joey at Epping Forest National Park

Mother and joey at Epping Forest National Park

The high rainfall in recent wet seasons has resulted in lush pastures and contributed to a positive response in the northern hairy-nosed wombat population.

Remote cameras set up at burrows on Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) have provided evidence of a number of new births. The cameras regularly capture footage of females with large pouches, females with young-at-foot, or juveniles. This growth in the population at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) is exactly the result that we need while we are establishing the new population at Richard Underwood Nature Refuge.

How did the wombats fare in the floods?

Northern hairy-nosed wombat outside burrow Photo: EHP

Northern hairy-nosed wombat outside burrow Photo: EHP

Fortunately, the floods that devastated much of Queensland in recent years have not affected the wombats. In March 2010, flood waters from the Balonne River hit St George, but did not enter the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge.

In January 2011, the Belyando River broke its banks and flooded Fox Creek beside Epping Forest National Park (Scientific). A small amount of water entered the park, but did not reach any of the habitat that is used by the wombats. At St George, the flood waters did not peak at 14 metres as predicted, and the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge was unaffected.

In February 2012, the Balonne and Maranoa Rivers flooded once again and the wombat colony at Richard Underwood Nature Refuge remained unaffected.

Last updated
16 January 2013