Australia's oldest wombat dies at Canberra zoo, aged 32

Australia's oldest wombat in captivity, Winnie, has died in Canberra after her health progressively deteriorated, the National Zoo and Aquarium said.

The zoo claimed she was believed to be the "oldest wombat in the world" when she died this week aged 32.

The species normally has a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years in the wild and an average life expectancy of 25 in captivity, making Winnie's life even more remarkable.

Winnie the Wombat at the National Zoo and Aquarium. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Winnie the Wombat at the National Zoo and Aquarium. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

"Winnie's health had been deteriorating over the past few weeks due to her progressing age. As always, the welfare of our animals is the highest priority and the difficult decision was made to ease her of any pain or discomfort," the zoo posted on social media.

Winnie was the longest resident at the zoo, arriving before it was even established more than 27 years ago.

Well known for her high-spirited personality, Winnie is sure to be remembered by young and old visitors to the zoo.

"Winnie would love to roll up in her favourite blankets when the weather became a little chilly," the zoo said.

"She loved large enrichment toys, like plastic garbage bins, and would happily spend the day bunting and knocking them around her enclosure."

The National Zoo and Aquarium's Dr Danielle Johinke hands Winnie the common wombat her favourite treat on her 31st birthday - an ear of corn. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The National Zoo and Aquarium's Dr Danielle Johinke hands Winnie the common wombat her favourite treat on her 31st birthday - an ear of corn. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

So she would eat her food, keepers made sure to add both of her favourite foods, corn and grated carrot, to all meals.

"Winnie was adored by our staff and visitors and we treasure the memories of the time she had with us. Our sincere thanks to all staff who cared for and loved her," the zoo said.

In 2017 The Canberra Times journalist Andrew Brown met Winnie in celebration of her 31st birthday.

"Originally she was a rescue wombat and she went on to Birdland at Batemans Bay, and she came to us when she was six," zoo team leader of Australian native animals Danielle Johinke said at the time.

"She's been here on the site longer than the National Zoo and Aquarium has."

The National Zoo and Aquarium's Dr Danielle Johinke hands Winnie the common wombat her favourite treat on her 31st birthday in 2017. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The National Zoo and Aquarium's Dr Danielle Johinke hands Winnie the common wombat her favourite treat on her 31st birthday in 2017. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Dr Johinke said Winnie's long tenure at the zoo was one of the many reasons why she was adored by visitors.

"As the longest-standing resident at the zoo, she's been here while a lot of progress has been made over the last 20 years," she said.

"She's very well loved and well known, and judging by the Facebook page, she's got lots of fans."

In memory of Winnie, the zoo has set up Winnie's Foundation to aid wombat conservation with a focus on combating sarcoptic mange in regional wombat populations. To donate to the foundation, click here.

As well as being one of the zoo's main attractions, Winnie even had her own Facebook page, which has more than 1200 likes.

Comments