Wombats in the News

Wombats buried alive by logging company

Forestry Corporation of NSW has buried wombats alive in their burrows, causing slow deaths, despite a deal with wildlife groups to protect the animals during logging.

Read more at https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/wombats-buried-alive-by-logging-company-20140808-10251m.html


Guidance material for management of wombat burrows within Glenbog State Forest, north of the Snowy Mountains Hwy, Eden Management Area

Additional condition

Before a new road or dump is constructed a survey of the road prism or dump must be conducted to detect wombat burrows. Surveys for wombat burrows are to include:

1.   A search for wombat burrows within a proposed road prism or dump location 48hrs prior to construction.

a.  The search must be conducted on foot.

b.  The search area must be documented by recording the: observer, date, time, start and end coordinates, locations of all burrows    observed and level of activity for each.

2.   Where a wombat burrow is detected, a visual assessment of the burrow must be made by trained FCNSW staff to determine if the burrow  is active.

a. If the assessment determines a burrow not to be active following both an external assessment for recent use and an internal search using headlamp or torch, the assessor must record the determination and the burrow location (GPS point and notes). Field marking of inactive burrows is not required. If all burrows within the assessed road prism or dump are not active approval may be given to construct the road or dump within 12 hrs of assessment.

b. If burrow activity is confirmed or cannot be determined proceed to step 3.

3.   If a visual assessment determines a burrow to be active (ie: clear evidence of current use) OR cannot be determined:

a. The location of the burrow is to be clearly marked with pink paint/tape.

b. Find an alternate location for the proposed road or dump and repeat steps 1 and 2. The PA must contact the Planner if an alternate road alignment is greater than 50m from the original alignment as an amendment to the harvest plan is required.

Where an alternate road or dump alignment is not practicable, proceed to step 4.

4.   48 hours before construction determine the occupancy of a burrow by:

a.   Taking a photo and GPS location of the burrow entrance (photo must capture at least 3m around burrow entrance). The burrow must   be marked with pink flagging tape/paint until it’s determined to be inactive (refer to step 2).

b.  Use a torch or headlamp to search the burrow.

i.  If the entire burrow can be seen and it is not occupied go to step 2. If the entire burrow cannot be seen, proceed to 4c.

c.  Place a remote camera aimed at the burrow entrance >48 hrs prior to construction and rake ground material away from the burrow entrance. Less than 12 hrs prior to road or dump construction, assess camera captures and soil at burrow entrance for activity.

i.  If the camera and soil does not confirm wombat use of the burrow, the burrow is not active (refer to step 2).

ii. If the camera does capture a wombat entering or exiting the burrow as supported by prints, the burrow is occupied. Liaise with Wildlife Rescue Far South Coast and the Wombat Protection Society immediately to establish the most suitable method to assess:

1) Whether the burrow has multiple entrances otherwise ensuring its safe exit if disturbed; and if not

2) The most appropriate method to ensure safe removal of the wombat.

A single entrance burrow must be confirmed unoccupied before the PA can give approval to commence construction.




(Report by Marie Wynan) WPS Director

Wombat Protection Society has spent considerable time with the NSW Forestry Corp inspecting wombat burrows in areas to be logged. They have now completed logging another section of Glenbog State Forest and this time burrows were protected, and one dump point and one road was moved due to burrows.

The burrows were marked by the Forestry, location entered into their data system, and at the completion of logging – THE BURROWS WERE NOT DISTURBED – fantastic (apart from the fact that the rest of the forest has been destroyed!). Little islands of undisturbed ground/forest were left around the burrows.

Attitudes have changed because of WPSA education. They have even extended their burrow marking and protection to other sections around Eden and wherever they now see wombat burrows. Agreement was the Northern section of Glenbog but they are extending the areas on their own.