Tasmanian Times


Wombat Culls Must Be Banned

The government’s announcement that three of the four current wombat cull permits are to be revoked comes after months of pressure from the community, in large part the Wombat Warriors, and support of the Greens in Parliament.

While the revocation is welcome, it falls far short of a real ban.

A ban on crop protection permits being issued for wombats is the only way to prevent localised extinction and ensure survival of the species.

While wombat numbers have plummeted due to the spread of sarcoptic mange, the Hodgman Government has sat idly by. It was left to community groups to take up the challenge to save Tasmania precious wombat population.

The government have clung to spotlight surveys, and ignored the pleas of community groups who have seen wombats suffering, and dying in their hundreds.

We commend the Wombat Warriors for their commitment to treating sick wombats, and for their tenacious advocacy. It is well past time the Liberals listened to Tasmanians, and did the right thing to protect this well-loved native species by banning the killing of wombats.
Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens’ Environment spokesperson

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  1. Simon Warriner

    July 4, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Further to my last, I have to ask if any of the “Wombat Campaigners” have stopped to consider the very real possibility that the wombat mange problem might actually be a side effect of the lack of feed that wombats without access to farmer sponsored pasture are experiencing.

    Where the wallabies have been excluded from pasture alongside native vegetation the bush side of the fence is bare, or growing buzzies and nettles. Hardly a wholesome diet for a wombat. From my observation they prefer pasture at around 30 to 60 mm height to the bared out billiard table top expanses that are sometimes, quaintly called “marsupial lawns”. Wallabies, left to run rampant will ruin pasture over a period of about 3 years, reducing it to moss and buzzies, and absolutely no grass. Wombats will eat the roots of moss and fern, but not as a staple part of their diet.

    Once deprived of nutritious pasture, and forced onto a sub optimal diet, what impact does this have on wombat health? Is mange a primary health problem or a secondary order response to a critical lack of vitamin f. (feed, for those wondering).

    I know the govt agencies and politicians think they have dealt with the wallaby problem, but they are totally wrong. This is but one aspect of it. There are others, all equally problematic.

    And I do find it interesting that the wombat campaigners have stayed away from this thread. I, and a few quiet observers would like to hear their response.

  2. William Boeder

    June 16, 2017 at 2:42 am

    Thank you Simon for an open honest appraisal of the Wombat situation down in your part of Tasmania.
    I know of their keen desire to penetrate all obstructive (de)-fences as a brother of mine had a local pesky wombat that had even resorted to digging below a close spread of star pickets hammered 500ml into the ground.
    No matter the brain-storming undertakings there were no successful defensive mechanisms to prevent this pesky but determined wombat to get into his back yard.
    (Only to then start its digging around the house foundation wooden stumps, all in despite of the impenetrable metal-sheet fencing star pickets etc within the surrounds of his backyard.

    So despite this fiercely determined effort by said pesky wombat this comment certainly attests to your difficult concerns.
    This same wombat once into the back yard of yon brothers house, would forever waddle across and slip under his house. (No apparently not interested in the finely grassed lawns.)

    Just as humans evolved as long distant walking creatures, wombats appear to have evolved as fence-penetrating-hole-digging-burrowing-excavating-grass-eating bothersome creatures.

    (According to an old piss-tank at our local pub, they are said to be more destructive and are a delinquent behaving lot, than a whole party of Tasmanian Liberal politicians.)

    My only suggestion would be to line the fence interior with fenced height black plastic material (not unlike the stuff used to wrap circular hay-bales) affixed to the fence with the appropriate clamping pliers for fitting circular wire clips.
    I say this as a possible resort to “keeping the wallaby invasions down to almost nil” as it then may become a matter of just patching wombat holes in the said plastic liners.
    Not at all guaranteed mind you, however, perhaps the many other forum attendees could proffer their possibly practiced and somewhat successful suggestions to aid you and the many other farmers saddled with this type of dilemma.

  3. John Maddock

    June 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Well said Simon #2

    Fortunately, (AFAIK), there are no wombats here, but even so, I still have to spend time blocking holes made by wallabies. Very persistent and cunning critters!

    As you say, they are in plague numbers now; there were none here near Kingston 20 years ago. I’ve spent close to $10,000 to protect a mere 50ha of pasture, but there was no choice.


  4. Simon Warriner

    June 15, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I know this is hardly a representative sample, but as one of several farmers in my vicinity who are host to a fairly recently arrived wombat population, and with whom I have discussed the matter, we are more than happy to co-exist.

    Where the problem lies is not with wombats, but with the wallaby, which are at plague levels. Having spent thousands of dollars excluding these animals from pasture that costs considerable money to grow and is the source of our livelyhoods, we must spend time and money endlessly repairing fences which are damaged by wombats to keep the wallabies out of the pasture. If there was not a wallaby plague, there would not be wallaby fences for wombats to wreck and the problem would be largely solved.

    Just today I repaired 5 holes in a 300m section of fence, and yesterday I repaired 8 holes in another adjacent 500 metre section of fence. As best I can tell it is one wombat that is responsible for most of those holes. Those fences are protecting some 200 acres of grass which should winter the dairy herd. It won’t. 3 years ago it did. This year it will feed them for about 4 weeks, maybe, if shooting repeatedly eliminates enough wallabies to allow the grass to get away.

    And for those who think it is possible to co-exist with wallabies, grass needs to grow its second leaf before it puts on the bulk of its vegetative matter. Wallabies do not allow the second leaf to form, causing the root system to contract and eventually the grass tiller to die, leaving only moss and buzzies which provide nutrition for bugger all to survive on. When it is possible to count wallabies in the hundreds on a single paddock that is a plague.

    My neighbour has tried wombat gates, they worked for a while, and then the wombat just dug a hole a few metres away from the gate anyway, so clearly they are not the solution.

    The wallaby population is not endemic. It was not there 40 years ago, according to the locals who were here for 30 years before that. Neither were the wombats here according to my neighbour who reckons they followed the plantations, just like the wallabies do

    The cost associated with the wallaby plague has been lumped onto the farming community, and they are powerless to pass it on to the consumers, thanks in large part to uncaring politicians and public servants, and to the supermarket duopoly and their entirely greed driven marketing strategies.

    Rather than taking a stick to farmers as is currently being done, I suggest the wombat campaigners and their supporters might consider supporting the farmers in their fight against the wallaby plague. Fix that problem and I suspect the farming community will be much more amenable to requests that they do what most desire to do anyway, which is to co-exist with the wombats.

  5. TV Resident

    June 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I have always been under the impression that wombats were a protected species. Apparently not when farmers can get permits to ‘cull’ them. This is hypocracy at best and it’s time to stop the hypocracy and give wombats and other native species their proper place on the island. After all we are inhabiting their island not the other way around.

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