Wombat Orphan Finds New Mother At Taronga Zoo

Wombat Orphan Finds New Mother At Taronga Zoo

An orphaned baby wombat is receiving round the clock care at Taronga after its mother was killed on a highway.The

little female Common Wombat joey, now named ‘Mirrhi’, was rescued from

along the Hume Highway where its mother had been struck and killed by a

car. The joey, which is thought to be about six months old, with a soft

covering of light grey fur was found some distance away from its dead

mother with an abrasion to its head.A thorough veterinary check

at Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital revealed Mirrhi also had some minor

bruising and broken claws, but no other major injuries.'Mirrhi' the little female Common Wombat joey Click on the above image for the galleryBeing

such a young wombat and weighing just one kilogram, Mirrhi would still

be living in its mother’s pouch and totally reliant on her, so the joey

was placed in the dedicated care of surrogate mother, Amy Twentyman,

Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital Nurse.Just like raising a human

baby, Amy has to get up at all hours of the night to bottle feed and

tend to Mirrhi needs, including helping the joey go to the toilet and

offering the comfort and security that it would have received from its

wombat mother.“It’s harder than a human baby though, I can’t

just pop down to the shops with a wombat so I have to time everything

around the feeds. It’s very much a balancing act,” said Amy.Despite

being very scared, and difficult to feed when it arrived at the Zoo, in

just a few days, Mirrhi has come on in leaps and bounds, is putting on

weight and has got used to the artificial baby bottle’s teat for

feeding.“Mirrhi  is an Aboriginal word for ‘little girl’, but

even though she is small at the moment and can fit in my two hands, it

won’t be long before she becomes a typical little wombat, very

boisterous and feisty. Being a mostly nocturnal animal she is really

active in the middle of the night, so I’m pretty sleep deprived, but

it’s a labour of love.”“With her soft covering of fur and pink

skin, she’s absolutely adorable and all the vet nurses and hand-rearing

staff at the Zoo were drawing straws to be her surrogate mother, so I

am definitely the lucky one.”“Once Mirrhi is weaned she will be

transferred to a wombat ‘half way house’ where she will learn to forage

for her own food. There will be limited human contact at this time so

that Mirrhi becomes independent and learns how to care for herself

before being released into the wild,” said Amy.Taronga Zoo

keepers often play Mum and Dad to a host of native wildlife after they

become orphaned, usually due to road accidents or attacks by domestic

pets. The Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital treats and rehabilitate up to 1500

native animals each year including possums, bandicoots, wombats, birds,

Sea Turtles and Little Penguins.“With lots of us driving to

holiday destinations over the summer break, it’s important to take

special care to avoid accidents with wildlife.  Native animals are

often active along roads at dusk and dawn.  If holidaymakers encounter

injured or orphaned animals they should contact local wildlife rescue

services for assistance,” said Amy.