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Today we had a very sad reminder of just how vulnerable our precious native wildlife is.

A male Common Wombat was bought to Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital late yesetrday after being hit by a car.  He had a very swollen head and quite a bit of blood around his mouth and he hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours, despite being offered food .

Our vets got to work and gave the wombat an anaesthetic to closely check his injuries. Apart from his obvious head injuries he was in perfect body condition, strong, muscular and an animal in his prime. But his head injuries were severe.

The wombat had badly broken teeth and his jaw was misaligned after being broken upon impact with the car. Breathing was also proving to be exceptionally difficult for the adult male and despite being given pain relief it was obvious the animal’s injuries would have been causing him a lot of discomfort.

The vets did multiple x-rays of the wombat's jaw and head but each image made it clear this animal could not survive the injuries. Without a strong jaw and functioning teeth the wombat would not be able to feed itself and would starve to death in the wild.  Sadly, after consultation with numerous vets and the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital Manager, the exceptionally hard decision was made to put the animal out of pain and humanely end its life.

Euthanizing an animal is a very hard decision and not one that we take lightly. Our ultimate goal is to release as many animals back into the wild. For this wombat there was no other choice.  He was in severe pain, his injuries were so bad that they were unlikely to heal well enough and releasing a disabled animal into the wild would be irresponsible.

Sadly this story is not uncommon, when cars, cats and dogs conflict with native animals, it is often our remarkable wildlife which comes off second best. 

Urban wildlife, which gets itself into all kinds of trouble, mainly due to human activities, often finds sanctuary at Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. 

Every year the hospital takes in over 1,000 sick, injured or orphaned native animals ranging from wombats like this one and pelicans which have swallowed fish hooks to blue-tongue lizards which have done battle with a whipper snipper and possums which have been attacked by cats or dogs.

The loss of this wombats’ life should be a reminder to us all to slow down on roads, be alert when driving at dawn and dusk and mindful of our native animals which live amongst us, even in Sydney's busy suburbia.

From Zoo Communications.

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