‘Scooping up the newborn, it was time for her bottle. Maggie was just 900 grams when she came into my care. She was a small and precious wombat.
As a veterinary nurse at Healesville Sanctuary, I help rehabilitate rescued animals.
Maggie had a hard start to life. She was thrown from her mum’s pouch after being hit by a car. Luckily, a passer-by noticed the pair on the side of the road and stopped to check on them.
He found Maggie running around her mother in a panic. She was covered in scratches and was severely dehydrated. Sadly, her mum didn’t survive, but Maggie was raced to our sanctuary. A vet discovered she’d suffered head trauma.
Unsure about the severity, we kept her safe and warm in a replica pouch. We hoped that by hand-raising her, she’d pull through.
For the first week, it was touch and go. She was quite distressed and wouldn’t feed. ‘Please keep fighting little one,’ I said.
Another keeper, Jess, and I took turns taking Maggie home. With round the clock feeds using a special formula, she thrived and started to gain weight.
‘Please keep fighting little one,’ I said.
After six months, Maggie was strong enough to stay at the sanctuary overnight.
But we had a really special bond. She’s such an affectionate girl who loves a cuddle and a belly rub. She’s like my baby!
We fed her with a bottle - just like any baby!
Almost a year on, Maggie is now a happy and healthy wombat weighing 8.7 kilos. Visitors can spend time with her as part of the Sanctuary’s Magic Moments encounter.
If anyone finds a baby wombat on the side of the road, we encourage you to call for help and wrap them in a blanket to keep them warm. It’s so rewarding to be able to save animals like my Maggie!
Originally published in that's life! Issue 29, 2016.