A JUVENILE wombat is being nursed back to health by veterinarians at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo Wildlife Hospital after it was found suffering burns from recent bushfires.
The juvenile male weighed just five kilograms when it was taken to the hospital in early January after being found between Mudgee and Bathurst.
The wombat's young age meant it still would have been dependant on its mother so the juvenile's chances of survival alone were slim.
Zoo veterinarians carried out an initial assessment and treatment of the animal and have continued providing support.
"During the initial veterinary assessment it was evident that he had a deep extensive burn on his back, which had likely been there for some time," zoo veterinarian Dr Benn Bryant said.
"The wombat needed to have surgery to remove the dead eschar or dead burnt skin which we undertook, as it would allow the wound to heal but also reduce the likelihood of infection."
Since then, the wombat has been cared for by a WIRES carer and has returned to the hospital in for regular check-ups.
"Remarkably the wound has healed quite well over a short period of time and we are really happy with how he is recovering.
"Time will tell if any hair will grow back over the burnt area, however it may be unlikely due to the severity of the burn."
The wombat will now stay with his WIRES carer for ongoing care and hand raising until he reaches an age that will allow for him to be weaned and released back into the wild.
"He was definitely lucky to be found when he was, as the risk of infection would have been high if no treatment occurred," Dr Bryant said.
"The wombat is in good hands with his wildlife carer and we look forward to hearing about the day he is released back into the wild."
Taronga Western Plains Zoo's Wildlife Hospital
- The hospital works with numerous wildlife carers in the region who assist with rehabilitating injured and orphaned animals to allow them to be released back into the wild.
- The Wildlife Hospital provides a veterinary service for injured, orphaned or diseased native wildlife.
- If you come across injured or orphaned wildlife you can contact 6881 1461 for advice or if it is safe bring the animal into the hospital between 8.30am - 4pm.