Northern hairy nosed wombat born at refuge

WATCH: Endangered wombat joey emerges from burrow

A TINY miracle may hold the future of its species in its hairy paws - or should it be its hair nose?

The Queensland Government is celebrating the birth of a rare and endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat at a refuge near St George.

Footage of the joey shows it emerging from its burrow, tentatively taking a few steps before rushing back to the safety of underground. It reappears a few seconds later and follows its mother off into the property.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said she instantly fell in love with the joey which was born at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge.

 However, Ms Enoch was quick to reiterate that the newborn's cuteness paled in comparison to the significance of its species survival.

"This little creature has only just recently emerged from the pouch and is absolutely gorgeous," Minister Enoch said.

"The birth of this joey - whose gender hasn't been discovered yet - is a real cause for celebration.

"The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the world's rarest mammals, and the only known colonies are here in Queensland.

"Each birth increases the chances of survival of this unique threatened species."

"In 2009, experts believed there were only 138 of these species left in the wild, and since then we have seen the total Queensland population increase to about 250, which is wonderful.

"At the Refuge, this latest addition brings the number of northern hairy-nosed wombats at the refuge to twelve."

The Richard Underwood Nature Refuge is one of only two reserves - the other situated in Epping Forest National Park - for the northern hairy-nosed wombat and plays a vital role in the protection of the species.

"The Underwood family's generosity in allowing part of their property to be used as a nature refuge has played a key role in the recovery of this wombat species," Ms Enoch said.

"The small, but protected population at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge helps assure the species' survival should any event impact on the numbers of northern hairy-nosed wombats at Epping Forest National Park.

"The refuge is predator-proof, with fencing, water stations and wildlife monitoring equipment all on hand to protect and monitor these enigmatic native animals."

Ms Enoch said the wombat joey that had emerged from its mother's pouch is believed to have been born around September 2017.

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