A drive to cure wombats "itching to death" is about to start after a successful experiment.
The cute but sometimes aggressive creatures contract mange, which makes their skin itch. It's an infestation of mites that get under the wombat's skin and give it an uncontrollable urge to scratch incessantly.
They end up scratching so vigorously that they break the skin and open themselves to other infections that often kill.
Two years ago ACT Wildlife received a grant of $19,830 to test a purpose-built contraption - a chemical was placed in tiny containers hanging on frames outside burrows. The wombats bumped into the frame, triggering the mini-bucket which then tipped the treatment solution on to the mangey wombat's itching skin.
Three areas in the south of Canberra were chosen as test sites. In two, the dip was used and in the third it wasn't. After monitoring, the health of the wombat population showed marked improvements in the areas where the chemical was used, compared to the untreated site.
One of the project co-ordinators, ACT Wildlife's Lindy Butcher, said the trial was really successful and the group now had approval to repeat the drive.
The funding was available for the experiment but not for the new drive, so that will rely on donations. And volunteers. Ms Butcher said people interested should get in touch.
It is hard work. The traps for wombats are made out of items like the lids of ice-cream cartons and discarded corflute after elections (corflute is the plastic material parties pin to posts and trees with slogans). The mini-buckets had to be filled up frequently.
On top of that, the burrows had to be filmed to monitor the treatment and disks removed from the cameras regularly.
Should we care about wombats? There's no doubt they are cute and will get oohs and ahs on social media but the project's co-coordinator, Corin Pennock, said they also performed a valuable ecological function with all the burrowing and earth moving they do.
They are, she said, "ecological engineers".
"They play a very important role in nature. They dig the dirt and move it around and that helps the seeds move.
"They move through long grass and stuff gets attached to them and they move it to different areas".
And that is a valuable role.
If you want to volunteer, go to the ACT Wildlife website to contact the organisers: actwildlife.net