Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
The issue of land rights applies to all our wildlife no less than the first nation people of Australia. Wombats have inhabited this land for millennia, and looked very different in the age of the dinosaur. They adapted during the time when the changes of the planet were slower, and dictated by an indifferent nature. By declaring Terra Nullius [nobody's land] Britain managed to avoid war or asking permission of indigenous people to settle, and thereby avoided respecting the right and culture of indigenous inhabitants. So all who lived on the land Captain Cook claimed were ignored or killed and that continues today. Certainly with wildlife, and it's still sanctioned by a government that says it has accepted Terra Nullius was incorrect, and just a ploy. Anti-racism education for Australian schools
The white settler and their imported animals are protected by law. The law now allows animals, where it's believed that the wildlife using land their ancestors had always considered areas they could use, to be killed. It does appear to be in error, and of course it is wrong. We who would destroy the land system that worked for all who lived on this continent are now paying a price. There is a greater impost outstanding against our species which needs to be paid yet. We will pay a little, our grandchildren will pay the most.
We owe much to the Bare Nosed Wombat [aka common wombat] as it assisted in shaping the Victorian landscape which we now enjoy and erroneously call our own.
So what we are doing now? Allowing Bare Nosed Wombats, kangaroos and other wildlife to be killed due to the whim of landholders and managers is morally wrong. That this dispossession and killing continues in this day and age shows our species to be completely without empathy or understanding. Everything is brought back to the lowest common denominator, money. Because while we allow wombats and other digging wildlife to be killed we find fire more prevalent. The agricultural methods we practice in the main, to make huge amounts of money, are completely without thought for environment or those who live in it only because it's still, only just, healthy enough to do so. It's not wearing well.
Wombats like all our wildlife, are being killed in ever increasing numbers and dangerously depleting their species as they and their babies interface with roads. An ever increasing volume of traffic and more housing estates and cleared land where they are seen as nuisance and termination permits are sought is destroying more than we can sustain. Wombats are also being killed in the back paddocks. They are NOT protected all over Victoria as we have been informed by a letter from Kimberley Dripps Executive Director Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services who was asked to reply to an enquiry sent to the Premier John Brumby during his tenure as Premier of Victoria.
Hundreds of thousands of wombats have been killed and their skins sold since white settlement, and if all the burrows they dug would still have been populated, there is no doubt that floods would not be as prolific or damaging, the water would have travelled through the ground more slowly and the moisture dissipate to sustain more plant life, better.
Bare Nosed Wombats are NOT protected in 193 parishes of Eastern Victoria. According to information received from Kimberley Dripps the DSE of Victoria at the time were reviewing whether these exceptions remain appropriate. Kylie White - Executive Director - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, that the review was part of an internal departmental review of Authority to Control Wildlife permit system.
However, in the term of office of Hon. Gavin Jennings as Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the review was killed off. Having sent a letter to Hon Gavin Jennings requesting the reason why this review wasn't undertaken, no reply was forthcoming from him. He passed it on and there was no explanation why he stopped the review.
It's not known when, if at all, Aluminium Phosphide tablets are no longer used to gas wombats in their burrows. One imagines that this is no longer sanctioned by any government department. But that could be incorrect. There are still cull permits handed out to people who think they are inconvenienced by wombats. However, when Aluminium Phosphide tablets were used by the companion department [lands department] of the one which was supposed to protect wildlife, one wonders what the state government was thinking of, killing so many digging animals. Just how many wombats were gassed?
In the days when the first white settlers boot hit the ground in Australia the land had evolved a sustainable system of continuance, it was healthy and thriving. There had been natural fires [not started by the Aboriginal people as some might suggest] floods, droughts and all living sentient beings of the land had adapted.There was death certainly, just as it should be.
Fires generally didn't burn as hot as they do today. One of the reasons for this wasn't and still isn't obvious to most educators, historians or people in general. There were thousands of these little diggers in the forest, not only wombats and bandicoots, going about their business aerating and improving the soil. Their search for food in the soil, for roots, insects or insect larvae, covered some of the leaf and bark litter, adding and helping to hold moisture and assisting to break it down faster and getting it out of harms way.
By killing these little and larger digging wildlife, reducing their number. Not aligning it with the areas of forest that were being destroyed, rather just killing the digging and burrowing animals because they were considered a nuisance, whenever and wherever they were found. Left the remaining forest floor without this one vital element to assist in improving the soil and diminishing the fire threat and intensity immeasurably. After white settlement he forest had become a fire fuel haven, it was now not a protection for wildlife or have wildlife protection. The synergy of all the elements was broken and finally destroyed. The increased intensity when a fire was either started by lightning in this dry area, or invaded from the expanding grassland of farms, climbed into the canopy and also burnt animals that were once relatively safe there in the past as well. White settlers had come, and congratulated themselves for the destruction they brought about, both directly and indirectly, declaring it virtuous and worthy and it continues to this day.
Wombats can and in most cases do live and survive in many areas of Victoria, which is the state that should apply the most protection for these and other wildlife. Victoria offers so many places where people can interface with wildlife, but not necessarily touch or interfere with it. This is something that should be seen by all government agencies as a great bonus. Few acknowledge this fact. Even fewer protect the wildlife and these places where people can experience something wonderful. Something that money can't buy.
The real problem is that many humans show themselves to be arrogant and not particularly clever by declaring our wildlife, whose right to the land is previous and superior to our own, this decreed by the natural order; as pests to be killed with impunity. Especially by those who are land grabbing and careless or ignorant of this land and how it evolved and worked before greed took hold. Using environmental pollution and plant and animal cleansing for personal gain. Destroying delicate ecosystems and creating an imbalance in every habitat which was once in sync.
More Interesting Reading About Wombats
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