The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is an Australian Protected Species
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat was listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2016, because "many subpopulations are now isolated and may be non-viable".
Drought - Since early 2012, Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats throughout the Lower Murraylands region have been observed suffering from malnutrition, resulting in very low body weight, severe skin lesions, significant fur loss and liver damage. While good seasons and droughts are a cycle of nature, a loss of native grasses and infestations of introduced weeds are contributing to ongoing health problems in Murraylands wombats. This article published on The Conversation has more details.
Habitat loss due to urban and rural housing developments, agricultural land clearing for farming, railway tracks, roads and businesses.
Wombats are sometimes seen as pests by humans who depend on the land for their living.
Native grasses have disappeared in some areas where wombats live. This is largely due to inappropriate land clearing for farming in non-arable land followed with overgrazing by sheep and cattle. Many years of overgrazing has resulted in depleted native grass seed-banks and allowed the spread of toxic weeds that wombats do not like to eat
Landholders bulldozing warrens. Often land owners think there are many wombats in their paddocks as they see lots of square scats, but actually there may only be one or two. One wombat can leave up to 100 scats a night.
Road traffic – wombats are desperate for food and are often forced to eat the greener grass, from water run-off, along the edge of roads where cows and sheep have not yet grazed. This results in being hit by cars, vans, motorbikes and trucks. (road kill).
Competition for food with other herbivores (native and introduced).
Mange. Although this has not been widely evident in Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat populations for several years, it is a significant problem facing Bare Nosed Wombats and has the potential to effect Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats. Mange is not a disease but an infestation of the mange mite and is thought to be spread by livestock, wild dogs and foxes. The female mites burrow under the skin where they deposit eggs, these hatch and cause intense discomfort. Over time, thick plaques that look like scabs and ridges. These scabs become dry and split open, the wounds can then become flyblown and infected. Unless treated the infestation progresses and eventually the wombat will die a slow and painful death.
Land holders culling - with or without permits. Read this article A disturbing example of an approved cull of 200 wombats on the Yorke Peninsular in 2020 despite the species being Near Threatened and this being one of the few remaining viable populations remaining in SA. This cull was eventually cancelled as a result of significant protest from the public, members of the the Greens and Wombat Awareness. It is a great example of how individuals can come together and make a difference.
See how a robot engineer and a wombat expert have come together to design a robot, named WomBot, to try and understand what it is like in the burrow of a Bare nosed wombat and address mange WOMBOT article