Volunteers help protect Camden’s wombat population

Camden’s wombat population has a dedicated group of guardian angels watching over them.

Local members of Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) partnered with Greater Sydney Local Land Services and Camden Airport staff have been working hard to ensure the wombats are as healthy as possible.

The local population was troubled by the scourge of wombat mange, prompting the volunteers to set up the Conserving Camden’s Wombats Project six months ago.

Mange can be debilitating for wombats and eventually leads to a slow and painful death.

Luckily, Camden’s wombats can avoid this fate with the installation of special flaps at the entrances to their burrows.

A burrow flap.

A burrow flap.

The volunteers have applied a mange treatment to ‘burrow flaps’ – like doggy-doors for wombat burrows – to help them combat the condition.

CVA regional manager Adam Woods said the group has high hopes for the burrow flap scheme.

“CVA has been maintaining the burrow flaps with the assistance of volunteers since April,” he said.

“We now hope that this population will have relief from what can be a harsh condition that can prove fatal to our enigmatic wombats.”

The volunteers mapped more than 50 burrows at the almost 200-hectare site near Camden airport, then constructed and installed the burrow flaps to treat the wombats as they move in and out of their homes.

Local Land Services senior biodiversity officer Peter Ridgeway said the project was sparked by a decline in wombat populations.

“Wombats are important for maintaining a healthy environment,” he said.

“Their burrows provide refuge for other animal species and improve soil health.

“When monitoring indicated wombats had disappeared from many areas of western Sydney during the last decade, we realised that we had to do more to care for the populations that are still here.”

The project has also revealed other animals – including swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, wallaroos, echidnas, lace monitors and even brown snakes – utilise wombat burrows.

The last official volunteer event for the project will be held at Camden Airport this Saturday, November 4.

Volunteers will remove burrow flaps and search for wombats who have benefitted from their efforts.