By Kath Gannaway
There are two possible reasons that in the future the horrible and confronting sight of dead wombats on the side of Yarra Valley roads may be a rare thing.
One is that people start to take more care. The other is that they may not be around anymore.
The Common Bare Nosed Wombat is high on the list of animals that volunteers with the Upper Yarra Wildlife Rescue Network are called out to rescue or bury.
According to a Lesley Pinkerton, a registered wildlife carer and UYWRN treasurer, in 50 years’ time it could be extinct – seen only in zoos.
Wombats are not the only victims but are part of an ever increasing number of animals across the board with some of the causes being road kill where motorists ignore wildlife caution signs and excessive speed, dogs and cats allowed to wander, destruction of natural habitat and introduced species such as rabbits, foxes and birds.
UYWRN is urgently in need of volunteers to maintain the network and provide training and mentors.
“Any time that people could give to help with the work we do, and ease the pressure on our limited number of volunteers, will make a difference,” Ms Pinkerton said.
In the meantime, she said members of the public can play a vital role in keeping a watchful eye for animals, particularly at dawn and dusk, and by helping an animal that is injured.
“If you hit an animal and need help, give us a call; don’t just leave it on the side of the road,” she said.
“If you come across an animal and don’t want to check the pouch, give us a call.”
Volunteers may not want to do rescue and transport, but there are other roles, including visits to schools and other groups to raise awareness.
The UYWRN’s next meeting is at Red Relish Café in Yarra Junction at 10am on Saturday, 17 March, and prospective volunteers are welcome.
A rescue and transport training session is planned for April.
The wildlife rescue number is 0427 088 121. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/uywrn/ .