Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat
A strong and heavily built marsupial that grows to about 35cm high (on all fours) and up to one metre long. It’s the largest of Australia’s wombat species. As the name suggests, these endangered wombats have lots of short brown hairs covering its nose. It has a broad head with long pointed ears with tufts of white on the edges. They can weigh up to 35 kilograms.
Habitat and food
The last known population of the Northern Hairy-nosed wombat is located within a 300ha section of Epping Forest National Park near Clermont in central Queensland. The park was established to help protect the habitat of the wombat. The wombat feeds on native and introduced grasses but never strays too far from one of its many burrows. Their groups of large burrows are usually near trees like eucalypts and acacias.
Habitat loss and competition for food have affected the Northern hairy-nosed wombat, as well as attacks by animals like dingoes and the impact of fires and drought. There are probably just over 100 wombats left. Introduced buffel grass, planted for cattle feed, means there is less native grass which wombats prefer to eat. Because such a small population remains, the wombats are also at risk due to inbreeding.
Epping Forest National Park is restricted to researchers and park managers. They are working to protect and improve wombat numbers by:
- fencing areas to protect existing wombats from stock and predators.
- controlling buffel grass and restoring native grasses to extent the area of suitable habitat.
- relocating wombats to other sites with suitable habitat to spread their range.
- researching the wombat to boost conservation and breeding efforts.