Granted everything that can and does go wrong in wildlife rehabilitation, one hopes for the best and fears the worst about the survival of the animals. But I got an e-mail today informing me that Digger is alive and well and almost ready to be released in the wild! (Wombats are apparently very good releases--once they hit adulthood, they get grumpy and solitary and don't want to hang around people, so it's not like many animals that become acclimatized and can't be returned to the wild.)
I'll just reproduce the bulk of the e-mail:
"Our little Digger is no longer little and quite a confused wombat. She has started to turn aggressive towards us, but other times she makes the typical "huff huff" noises that wombats make when they want attention - the she launches herself at you and is all teeth and claws. I guess it's the same as us going through adolescence? *lol*
Digger has had quite a history. In February last year I dropped her as she was struggling to get out of my arms. She dropped onto a mat from about 1.5 feet (which isn't a great height) and suffered a broken rear right leg to our horror. I could have quite easily slit my wrists then as it normally means that we have to euthanase the poor animal - I was beside myself to think that such a simple accident had cost this little one's life. The wombats are normally quite robust, and although we definitely do not make it a habit of 'dropping' them, X-rays revealed that Digger had a very low bone density. This came as a surprise to us as we are strict with their milk formula and don't deviate from it.
Anyway, we are definitely not going to put a wombat down on our watch, so we bit the bullet and had our vet specialist surgeon operate on Digger (for a modest fee - not! *s*). We've attached a few pictures of Digger, showing her lovely shaved bits and the protruding end of a 'pin' which we had to apply antiseptic to to avoid infection. Donna was not impressed when I affectionately referred to her as 'Frankenbat' *s* and she became a mommy's girl, dutifully following Donna around. It was hard to take photos without Donna in the background
Needless to say, Digger progressed in leaps and bounds (and some months afterwards, this was her favourite game to pounce at us) and has since developed into a lovely female wombat, almost ready to be released back into the wild. We thought that you might be interested. I do know that some time ago when we first sent through pictures of Digger that sometimes unforeseen things happen and we sadly lose a wombat - Digger has beaten those odds and shows that she is definitely a little survivor."
So a big hand to John and Donna, wombat rehabilitators extraordinaire, who currently have a shocking eighteen wombats (and two kangaroos!) in care. And congrats to Digger, who will hopefully soon be trundling about the bush as a wild wombat!
(All images copyright John and Donna)
They have a website at http://www.wombadilliac.com.au/main.htm (Go! Order stuff from the store!)