New volunteers join the fight against mange

The local wildlife group LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans) is increasing its push to combat mange in the Snowy Mountains.

So far this year, 127 wombats with mange have been reported to the local licenced wildlife group LAOKO.

New members of the LAOKO mange treatment team, at Old Adaminaby, Kathy Healey, Micky Watts and Ben Lees, with the treatment poles used to get a direct dose of a cattle pour-on on a wombat with mange.

New members of the LAOKO mange treatment team, at Old Adaminaby, Kathy Healey, Micky Watts and Ben Lees, with the treatment poles used to get a direct dose of a cattle pour-on on a wombat with mange.

LAOKO mange team co-ordinator, Elena Guarracino said the number of reports of wombats with mange is not slowing down.

"But the good news is the team of volunteers is growing", Ms Guarracino said.

"LAOKO is getting mange reports anywhere within the 15,000 square kilometres LAOKO is licenced to operate. We get reports from Bredbo to Thredbo and everywhere in between."

Ms Guarracino said there is a growing, enthusiastic, compassionate team of 25 people, who are treating wombats with mange across about12 different localities in the region.

The latest recruits are in Old Adaminaby where a wombat with severe mange was seen in the township.

"They wanted to help this wombat they called 'Banjo', after Banjo Street where he was often seen," Ms Guarracino said.

"I visited Old Adaminaby and provided some training to three residents, Kathy Healey, Micky Watts and Ben Lees. We talked about mange and the treatment options, so they now have the information, equipment and chemical needed to help Banjo and other wombats with mange in the Old Adaminaby area.

The good news is that 'Banjo' has been treated and is well on the way to a full recovery. Within about a month, the thick scabs will fall off and be replaced with new skin and fur.

Mange is a totally reversible condition if the correct treatment is given in time.

'Banjo' is living in the township and in nearby bushland.

Burrow flap devices have been set up over burrows in adjoining bushland to treat other wombats who may have mange in the area, because mange is contagious, and wombats share burrows, there will be other wombats with mange.

Old Adaminaby residents, Ben Lees and Micky Watts learning how to install burrow flaps over a wombat burrow to treat wombats with mange. The small tins are filled with a cattle pour-on which pours onto the wombat as it goes into the burrow.

Old Adaminaby residents, Ben Lees and Micky Watts learning how to install burrow flaps over a wombat burrow to treat wombats with mange. The small tins are filled with a cattle pour-on which pours onto the wombat as it goes into the burrow.

Mange is caused by an introduced scabies mite that burrows under the skin of wombats, causing intense discomfort and itching. The wombat will scratch itself until it bleeds, causing open wounds, fly strike, heavy scabs, hair loss, dehydration and eventually killing them if left untreated.

LAOKO is authorised to use the cattle and red deer pour-on, to treat wombats with mange.

For more information about mange go to the Wombat Protection Society of Australia website: https://www.wombatprotection.org.au/mange-disease

To report a wombat with mange, or would like to join the mange team, please contact the LAOKO mange treatment co-ordinator through the LAOKO helpline: 64561313 or email laokomange@gmail.com

Two new members of the LAOKO mange treatment team, Kathy Healey and Micky Watts, with the mange team co-ordinator Elena Guarracino with a mange sign to warn members of the public that wombats are being treated for mange in the area.

Two new members of the LAOKO mange treatment team, Kathy Healey and Micky Watts, with the mange team co-ordinator Elena Guarracino with a mange sign to warn members of the public that wombats are being treated for mange in the area.

This story LAOKO mange team on the job first appeared on Bombala Times.

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