An "adorable" video of a young girl feeding and tickling a baby wombat has captured the hearts of many online, however the "wholesome content" has been deemed wildly dangerous by one prominent wombat rescuer.
In the video toddler Ashlee can be seen holding a bottle of milk while the wombat drinks from it on her lap. Her dad Josh, believed to be a farmer and wombat rescuer, videoed their interaction while giving instructions to his daughter.
"Like this," he said, pushing the bottle into a higher position for the wombat to drink from.
Wombat rescuer warns of video's harmful message
Despite being praised for educating his daughter about wildlife care, a fellow volunteer wombat rescuer has warned of the health risk to the baby wombat. The wombat rescuer, who wished to remain anonymous, says the video is cute but warns the interaction could be very dangerous for both the young girl and the joey.
"The rescuer is endangering that baby animal, because even with very experienced wombat carers they can easily get aspiration pneumonia," she told Yahoo News Australia. "Wombat joeys kept as pets have over 80 per cent chance of mortality, even when handled by a licensed carer."
The video post was flooded with people expressing their desire to own a wombat, with one sharing they would "sell their left kidney for a pet wombat", only perpetuating the wombat rescuer's concerns.
"He's teaching the girl that animals are toys," she said. "You wouldn't let a two-year-old feed a six-month-old baby because that's not safe for the baby."
"And I've got bruises all over me, wombats aren't vicious but they play... they have sharp little teeth, they can break skin ... This girl is at risk."
Josh's social media account has amassed over 160,000 followers who regularly engage with the family's wildlife content, however, the wombat rescuer warns proper care should be prioritised above all else.
"The one thing we're taught with wombats are no dogs and no kids," she said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.