They may look like the roly-poly pigs, but theyre more closely related to koalas. On this Wildlife Wednesday, we dig up some details about northern hairy-nosed wombats.
They may look like the cutest roly-poly pigs that you ever did see, but these marsupials are actually more closely related to the koala—and even then, the two are related only distantly. On this Wildlife Wednesday, we dig up some details about northern hairy-nosed wombats.
Like all wombats, northern hairy-nosed wombats call Australia “home.” Specifically, they can be found burrowing under flat grasslands containing native grasses and woodlands containing either acacia or eucalyptus trees.
Why are they threatened?
Unlike its cousin the common wombat, these hairy-nosed herbivores don’t freely roam the Australian outback. As a matter of fact, this particular wombat species is found under the IUCN’s “critically endangered” category and is only found in one location in Australia—Epping Forest National Park.
The wombat numbers initially declined due to extensive habitat destruction and competition with domestic livestock such as sheep, cows, and rabbits—especially during time of drought.
Currently, the animals are threatened due to their own diminished numbers and small range, which make them vulnerable to wildfires and other local disasters; predation by dingoes and other carnivores; disease; and an introduced type of grass invading their natural habitat.
However, there has been some good news recently—their population is considered stable, and has slowly been climbing since its all-time low of 40 members, which was reached in the early 80s. This is thanks to the efforts of the Australian government, which has carried out a number of conservation efforts to reduce predation, mitigate the effects that drought might have on the animals, and stop the spread of introduced buffel grass.