Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat – National Parks Association of Queensland

Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat

Author: Jenny Molyneux

The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the world’s rarest marsupials and the largest of the wombat species, averaging about 32kg.

They are nocturnal, living in extensive burrow systems that can consist of up to 90 metres of tunnels.

Although they historically occurred across a vast area of inland Queensland and NSW, by 1982, northern hairy-nosed wombats were restricted to a single population of just 35 individuals at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific).

The Epping population has been the base for all northern hairy-nosed wombat research and recovery to date. Initially, research focused on identifying threats and monitoring populations through assessing burrow activity and trapping; however, more recent advances in technology have improved the accuracy and frequency of monitoring.

Although burrow and camera monitoring are conducted constantly to monitor population health, staff and volunteers recently undertook a hair census, which successfully collected hair samples for DNA analysis, which will be used to determine population trends and demographics.

Recovery of the species, led by Queensland Department of Environment and Science, has included improving and protecting habitat, excluding predators and introduced competitors from existing wombat habitat, provision of constant water sources and on-going monitoring of population sizes and demographics.

Since 2001, significant increases in wombat numbers and the establishment of a second population, at Richard Underwood Nature Refuge near St George, have indicated recovery efforts are working. Currently it is estimated that over 300 wombats occur across both populations.

The program is continuing to expand with planning and preparation to translocate wombats to another new location in Queensland well underway.

The daily management of the species across both Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) and Richard Underwood Nature Refuge provides opportunities for public to be involved through the northern hairy-nosed wombat volunteer caretaker program.

At each site, two volunteer caretakers live on-site, rotating every 1-2 months.

The primary duties of these roles include monitoring the predator fence, monitoring the activity of wombats and other fauna, maintaining the wombat watering system, downloading, and assessing video footage from remote cameras, vegetation maintenance and maintaining infrastructure and equipment.

Recruitment to these positions is always open.

If you have a reasonable level of fitness (large amounts of walking may be required), have (or are prepared to obtain) a Provide First Aid certificate, have a 4WD (only required for work at Epping Forest National Park), are reasonably proficient with computers and would like to know more about this opportunity please contact

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