WARNING — GRAPHIC CONTENT: A local community are "devastated" after a beloved, local wombat was cruelly "hunted" and killed by two dogs, undoing six months of hard work by wildlife volunteers.
On Wednesday a horse rider spotted two dogs "growling and barking" at the base of a tree in Jilliby, in the NSW Central Coast hinterland, before they got hold of their intended target. After interference from the horse rider sent the dogs running, the injured wombat also sought refuge and hid in a pipe under the road.
"My wonderful husband belly-crawled through a waterlogged culvert towards a hissing, growling wombat to urge him out the other side," WIRES volunteer Sue Booth shared on Facebook. She told Yahoo News Australia she felt "distressed" as she recounted the extensive lengths needed to coax the animal towards medical attention.
Beloved wombat known by Jilliby locals
The wombat, affectionately called Mr Wobbles, is well-known within the local community as the WIRES team have been treating him for mange. The skin disease, caused by mites burrowing into an animal's fur, is a debilitating condition for wombats in NSW and is driving the species towards extinction, with local wildlife volunteers working tirelessly to prevent this from happening.
Due to their work, the volunteers often receive updates and pictures from locals who spot Mr. Wobbles, sharing status reports as they pass him. However, due to the dog attack on Wednesday, which inflicted "severe injuries" on the beloved wombat, sadly Mr Wobbles was euthanised.
WIRES urge pet owners to be 'responsible'
The WIRES team have been left "angry and sad" by the consequences of the dog attack and have one clear message for pet owners. "Contain your dogs," Sue said. "It's not fair, these wombats have to deal with so much, they have to deal with mange and road accidents. To have someone's dogs do this for sport...they just need to be contained."
The sentiment was shared by WIRES spokesperson John Grant, who told Yahoo News Australia that pet owners should especially be vigilant in known native wildlife areas.
"We all need to learn to live together and the simplest way is to keep our pets monitored, especially at night when nocturnal species are on the move and may pass through or near people’s properties leaving them vulnerable to attack," he said.
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