Back in 2008 when I first created Poss & Wom never knew that here in Queensland we had our very own unique wombat, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat. As it turns out, it wasn't just me, many of us Aussies have never heard of them! These beauties are critically endangered - this means they are at an extreme danger of becoming extinct. To put this in real terms, there are only around 200 of them on this earth! You can't even see them in a zoo.
Since this discovery, I have decided to help. I am no wombat or wildlife expert so I figured the best way I can help is by raising awareness and support. The Wombat Foundation is a wonderful charity directly working with the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, assisting in the recovery and preservation of these cuties. I have become a member of this foundation (anyone can be a member by paying a small annual fee). I also donate $1 from each book sale to them as well as other tokens of support when I can.
The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat survives only in two wild populations - Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) in central Queensland and the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge at St George in Queensland. They are the largest herbivorous burrowing mammal in the world and are a nocturnal marsupial only found in Australia. They are largest member of the family Vombatidae which contains two other wombat species: the bare-nosed wombat and southern hairy-nosed wombat.
Adult Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats may grow as large as 40 kg but the average adult weight is 32 kg. Females are slightly heavier and larger than males. Longevity in the wild is unknown but the oldest known wild Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat was at least 23 years old when captured during 2006.
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats were probably never common. They prefer well grassed sandy country, which is relatively scarce in Australia.
With the introduce of sheep, cattle and rabbits into their habitat they have had constant and relentless competition for their food. Wild dogs have also been a huge threat.
The small size of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat population means that there is less genetic variation and therefore more inbreeding. Having only one population of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats is basically like having all your eggs (or wombats) in one basket. Due to these small boundaries, they are vulnerable to being wiped out by disease or wildfire.
Image and information from The Wombat Foundation
Although the Northerns are the most endangered, the other species aren't out of the woods either. There are three different breeds of wombat - the Northern Hairy-nosed, the Southern Hairy-nosed and the Bare-nosed. All wombat numbers are shrinking as a result of human interaction and mange. Luckily for the wombats, there are amazing people around who are fighting for them.