Thursday 22 September 2016
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Wombat Mange Management
Mr FINCH question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Dr GOODWIN
- Is the Government aware of the terrible plight of wombats suffering from mange in Tasmania? In one of the areas of West Tamar it is estimated that up to half the wombats have died from mange.
- Has the department been made aware of the regime to treat wombat mange and prevent the annihilation of wombats in Tasmania?
- As wombats are native fauna and we have seen other problems such as the devil facial tumour disease, will the state Government be taking action?
- There is a local community program addressing the issue as it affects tourism and it needs funding to ensure a base level population of wombats survives. Will the Government be helping this program?
Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Rosevears for his question.
The Government, through the Wildlife Management Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has been working closely on this issue since November last year with a group based in the north of the state that includes members of the Wombat Protection Society of Australia.
Currently, two treatment methods are being progressed. The first is flaps - ice-cream container lids - close to burrow entrances which dispense a single dose of moxidectin to an affected wombat as it passes through. The proposed use of moxidectin, which is sold under the trade name Cydectin or Ivermectin, is considered an off label use and therefore requires the issuing of a permit. The Wildlife Management Branch has facilitated contact with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Association, to allow the group to seek the necessary approvals and guidance from that body.
In July this year the group was advised by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Association they would be placed on an existing minor use permit issued to another group researching mange treatment for wild wombats in Victoria.
The second treatment method is known as the 'pole and scoop' method, whereby a person doses a free‑ranging wombat from a distance with the treatment tipped upon them from the end of a pole. Under the Nature Conservation Act 2002, this method requires the issuing of permits and the Wildlife Management Branch is in the process of issuing a limited number of permits for this activity.
While some wombat populations in the north of the state have been impacted by mange, there is no evidence to date a significant decline in statewide population numbers has occurred.
The Tasmanian Government is funding the current treatment program through the department's budget and the Wildlife Management Branch has provided advice to community groups about additional funding options, such as the Tasmanian Community Fund, and is supporting these groups in those applications.