2016 diary summary Richard Underwood Nature Refuge

Further new trap prototype testing

Pipe trap set in position Photo: Queensland Government

Pipe trap set in position Photo: Queensland Government

One of the project objectives for the Wombat Team has been to trial the new prototype wombat pipe traps. The traps were mostly used in conjunction with an inverted plastic ‘U’ shaped channel (Evertrench) which acts as a ‘runway’ between the burrow entrance and the trap. If a selected burrow has more than one entrance, the trap is set on the most active runway and the other entrances were blocked using wire mesh. Given the shape and size, it is hoped wombats find the pipe trap familiar (more like as an extension to their burrow) and therefore feel easier about walking through it.

By design, the pipe trap provides an improved alternative to the historically-used conventional steel cage traps from the perspective of efficacy, animal welfare and occupational health and safety. It has a greater discrimination towards wombats over by-catch species (e.g. swamp wallabies), is quieter, and is positioned at the burrow entrance; which all leads to the potential of improving trapping success rates. While it has proven effective, the prototype will undergo further minor modifications and further trials before additional new pipe traps will be manufactured.

New male - M131 translocated to Richard Underwood Nature Refuge

M131 getting prepared for his translocation to RUNR Photo: Queensland Government

M131 getting prepared for his translocation to RUNR Photo: Queensland Government

M131 exploring his new home, RUNR with his tracking collar Photo: Queensland Government

M131 exploring his new home, RUNR with his tracking collar Photo: Queensland Government

During the 2016 wombat trapping expedition at Epping Forest National Park, departmental officers captured a healthy male of 31kg, for translocating to Richard Underwood Nature Refuge, the second northern hairy-nosed wombat colony. The male wombat (M131) was introduced to the colony with the hope he will charm the females and re-ignite growth of the population.

The new wombat on the block certainly made his presence known in the community. M131 has been observed on surveillance footage calmly and confidently exploring active burrows, interacting with other wombats and on numerous occasions sharing a burrow. He has been recorded visiting nine different burrows in one night.

It was not long before camera footage indicated the new male’s efforts had been productive with a pouch young detected in late 2016 boosting the population to 11 individuals.

RUNR population in 2016
Date released at RUNRWombat IDApprox. age Weight when trappedCondition when trapped
25/07/2009F166Adult344
16/04/2010F169Adult26.84
21/04/2010F167Adult25.74
22/04/2010F170Adult29.94
8/08/2010F171Adult29.84
15/08/2010M127Adult30.74
16/08/2010F173Adult30.14
17/09/2010F175Adult27.73
Born 2010Joey2 (gender unknown)AdultUnknownN/A
6/06/2016M131Adult31.34
Born 2016Joey4 (gender unknown)Pouch youngUnknownN/A

No deaths have been occurred at RUNR since mid-2012.