At family-run Wild About Wildlife Rescue Center in Kilmore, Victoria, marsupials are regulars. Earlier in May, when a member of the public brought in a tiny wombat whose mother had been hit by a car, the Milligan family knew just how to nurse the little marsupial back to health.
Thanks to warm blankets and frequent bottle-feedings, the baby, named Elvis, is doing very well under their care. Elvis arrived weighing a tiny 220 grams but has grown to weigh 600 grams. A baby marsupial is entirely dependent on its mother. Born tiny, naked and undeveloped, the baby crawls into its mother's pouch where it nurses and continues to grow. Wombats stay inside their mother's pouch for five months, and become independent at about seven months.
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Wombats are endemic to south-eastern Australia. They are nocturnal, feeding at night on grasses, roots and bark with rodent-like teeth that grow continually. Unlike rodents, wombats reproduce very slowly, raising one offpsring every two years. The IUCN lists the Common Wombat and Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat as species of least concern; however, Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are a critically endangered species. Because of their slow reproductive cycle, Wombat populations can take time to recover after damaging disturbances such as a bushfires.
Wild About Wildlife was founded by Lisa Milligan and her spouse Duane. The family-run operation started up in 2009 after a series of bushfires that left many injured and orphaned wildlife in need of care. With the support of their two children and veterinarian Dr. Alistair Brown, the Milligans care for animals of all sizes and ages, from mammals to birds and reptiles.
The shelter is an out-of-pocket endevour run from the family's home. In order to sustain their work, they are selling their house and asking for donations to help purchase a mobile caravan. The caravan would serve as a temporary home-base for the baby animals who need around-the-clock care while the house is being sold. Donations can be made online from Wild About Wildlife's website.