16 Jun Elsie the tiny wombat joey is a fighter
Three months ago, Elsie’s mum was hit by a car. A caring member of the public pulled over, checked the dead mother’s pouch and found Elsie. She expertly removed the baby wombat from the pouch and dropped it at Weston Creek Vet. Our Hotline logged a call at 10am on 14 March: “Baby wombat urgent pickup – cut out of pouch. Wrapped up making warm. Called Rodney who will pick up and care. Update: female wombat joey delivered to Helen H. for care.”
Elsie weighed just 120 grams – almost a foetus. She needed specialised feeding and care around the clock – starting with bottle feeding every 3 hours. Fortunately, she has a fighting spirit!
Since many carers work full time, care must be shared, although we usually minimise the amount of transport we undertake with one so small. One carer has Elsie Monday to Thursday and another takes over Friday to Sunday. This situation has worked perfectly – we ensure the same conditions such as humidicribs and feed routines between houses
Elsie has faced many issues – wombat herpes, iron deficiency and mange. Treatment has successfully cleared up all issues. Elsie in now over 1 kilo and will need to continue care for many months, until she can be released at 18 kilos.
Habitat loss and weed infestations are making it harder for us to find suitable release sites. Wombat mange can survive in burrows for three weeks, posing a re-infection threat. More research on a mange cure is desperately needed to save our wombats.