Communications & Media

Funding helps fight against deadly disease in State's wombat population

wombat mange

University of Tasmania researchers will partner with community groups and the State Government in the fight against the deadly sarcoptic mange that is impacting on Tasmania’s wombat population.

The State Government recently announced $100,000 in funding for the establishment of a new recovery program to help ensure the wombats’ long-term survival against the disease.

University of Tasmania School of Biological Sciences disease ecologist Dr Scott Carver will work with the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment to develop new techniques and products to determine more effective treatment options.

Dr Carver said sarcoptic mange is a deadly, highly contagious disease that has virtually wiped out the entire wombat population at Narawntapu National Park in Tasmania’s North West. The wombat population at Narawntapu has declined by >94% since 2010.

“This is probably the most significant amount of conservation funding ever received to help the plight of the wombats suffering from mange,” he said.

“Mange is not new to the State, it’s been around for a while so it’s really good to see recognition of the need to provide solutions to the disease.”

The mange, caused by the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is rampant and unforgiving on its wombat host; burrowing into the skin causing scabs, which leads to hair loss, inflammation and in most cases for wombats, death.

The recovery program will be a collaborative effort with Conservation Volunteers Australia and community groups joining the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment in responding to the deadly mite.

Published on: 16 Mar 2017 10:53am