WILDLIFE rescuers were able to free a baby wombat from the pouch of its dead mother after she was struck by a car in central Victoria on Saturday morning.
And they say injured wombats in the region are becoming increasingly common due to expanding development in the southern parts of Victoria, pushing them further north and beyond their natural habitat.
A passing motorist spotted the dead wombat on the road in Harcourt North, near Bendigo, and managed to move it to the roadside when he noticed a baby in the pouch.
Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service attended and were able to free the baby and take her back to the shelter where she is being nursed back to full health.
She weighed 2.3 kilograms and was covered in about 200 bush ticks.
Jo Lyall, of the WRES, said they had found a number of injured wombats near Bendigo in recent years – in Big Hill, Ravenswood, Eppalock and Spring Gully.
She said it was a concern for the native animals.
“We don’t want to see wombats in Bendigo, it’s just not the right place for them,” Ms Lyall said.
Click the below video to see the baby wombat being freed from the pouch:
“But due to overpopulation, they are being pushed further and further. The ground is far too hard for them in this part of the state.
“We also worry that they will be considered a novelty by some people who won’t do the right thing.”
She said it was fortunate that a passing motorist had stopped to help the wombat, and she wished to thank him.
The wombat, to be known as Hattie, will be nursed back to about 25 kilograms and released back into the wild.
WRES rescued a wombat weighing 194 grams and were able to released it back into the wild several weeks ago.
They are known to be very territorial and can cause injury with their powerful scratch, so Ms Lyall said they could only be handled by skilled professionals.
“Even when they are in our enclosure, I would stay away from them,” she said.
“For your average person who thinks they can go up and pat them – don’t do it.”
If you spot an injured native animal, contact WRES on 0427 301 401.