Turning briefly to the fauna aspect of my land and building saga, I recently joined up to WomSAT - a new resource for communities to record sightings of wombats across the country and became a 'Wombat Warrior'!!
Wombats are facing a crisis which threatens their numbers and existence. Namely - Sarcoptes scabiei caused by a mite similar to scabies in humans. Some think it is spread by foxes (which can frequent wombat holes) as Wombats are fairly solitary and territorial which would lessen the chances of the spread of the scabies mite.
Their numbers are already under pressure due to encroaching development on their territory, attacks from dogs and foxes and harsh treatment from landowners who are not adverse to shooting them because they like to dig holes in fences and dam walls.
Heaven forbid a landowner should have to go out of his way to mitigate damage by trying alternate methods of deterring wombat activity. No no no - much easier to just shoot them.
WomSAT is harnessing community support to record wombat sightings, burrows, live and dead wombats and any evidence of mange thereon, in an effort to gauge the effect of this scourge on wombat numbers.
There is a treatment available which can reverse the effects.
I have 4 wombat holes on my property but I am still as yet uncertain as to which ones are still active. (Wombats can make more than one burrow.)
I haven't stayed late at my property and as wombats are nocturnal, I haven't seen any of them myself yet.
But evidence is there that it/they are wandering around.
As an early birthday present to myself I have just bought a motion detector wildlife camera which I will set up to photograph any wildlife that wanders past it. This way I can try and determine how many wombats are here and their relative state of health.
Wombats as they should be (I DARE you not to adore them!!):
And what the mange will do:
We had over 100mm of rain in the last 36 hours and so I went out today to see what it has done.
Apart from filling up my dam to overflowing, it has also flooded three of four of the wombat holes. I have been told that wombats dig down first and then up to form a chamber above any water that might creep in. Let's hope so!