ACT News


Orphan wombat joey saved from ACT roadside tragedy

This velvety soft orphan joey was lucky to survive after being pulled from its dead mothers pouch. 

The pair was stranded in the middle of a road at Blue Range on Tuesday when ACT Parks and Conversation Service's Kaylea Boulter came across them. 

She and colleague Bryan Geoghegan assessed the fatally injured mother and noticed a squirming movement in the wombat's lower abdomen. 

"I'd seen its belly was moving," she said. "I just shouted out 'there is a joey in there'." 

"We both pulled the little one out of her, reaching deep into her pouch.

"The joey's eyes were still closed and she was frozen to the touch, desperately looking for her mother's teet." 


Ms Boulter immediately nestled the joey, now called Mallee, in the pocket of her fleece hoodie. 

They blasted the heaters in the cabin of their ute on the way home, trying to warm the little creature up. 

When it came time to drop the joey off to the specialised wildlife carers in Gungahlin, baby Mallee started to open her eyes - as if to peer out and say a little goodbye. 

"It was a magic moment," she said. "It was as though it was trying to get a last look at us before we said goodbye, which was a bit cute."

After a vet check Mallee was snuggled up in a heated crib under the watchful eye of Wombat coordinator Lindy Butcher.

"She has been feeding every four hours and we are trying to get her through 60ml of specialised wombat milk a day," Ms Butcher said. 

At 460gm Mallee is the smallest wombat in care, but she has already met new mates 7.5 kilogram Kathryn and 700gm Josephine - fellow orphans as a result of vehicle strikes. 

Josephine arrived into care weighing just 110 grams four months ago. 

Ms Butcher said it was remarkable to see the fragile animals struggle against the odds and grow up to be returned to the wild. 

The network currently has four wombats in care. While donations to the charity covered some costs, each were expected to cost between $700 to $1000 to care for before they are old enough to release. 

Traffic takes a huge toll on wildlife across the region and Ms Boulter, who found Mallee, hoped the story of this tiny survivor would make more people check injured animals and their pouches for young and, at the very least, fulfil legal obligations to report such cases to police or wildlife services.

"I've come across so many injured wildlife along side of the road that have been left for dead and it's absolutely heart-breaking," she said. 

"I hope this story can raise awareness and reduce further hit and runs."