By Mitchell Clarke
An injured wombat, in search of a safe haven, waddled past at least 20 townhouses before finding refuge in an Officer garage.
Geomar Calvin said he was “shocked” to witness the wandering wombat casually walk into the garage of his suburban townhouse just before 8am on Friday morning, 29 May.
Mr Calvin was in the middle of his early morning workout in the garage when he noticed the mammal’s movements out the corner of his eye.
“I was so startled,” he said.
“When we saw each other, we both kind of stopped and just looked at each other for a few minutes. I started to back away slowly but the wombat kept walking towards me.”
Mr Calvin, who has lived in the area his whole life, said it was “surreal” to see a wombat in broad daylight in Officer.
He said the injured animal would have travelled a fair distance from the Princes Highway to get to his property, opposite the Timbertop Estate.
“We’re at the very end of the complex so the wombat would’ve walked past every single house to get to ours,” he said.
“I’m surprised no one else saw it because he would’ve walked past about 20 houses.”
Wildlife Victoria volunteers picked up the salivating wombat and took it to Healesville Sanctuary where she was checked over by vets.
Despite initially believing the wombat had been hit by a car, the little lady was deemed well enough to be released following a series of tests.
With Officer becoming one of the country’s fastest growing areas, the suburb was sadly no longer a suitable space for adventurous wombats.
She was instead relocated to a safe sanctuary and her new forever home in Hoddles Creek.
“With permission from DELWP, I picked her up from the sanctuary and took her to her new home,” her rescuer said.
“She took her time coming out of the carrier but eventually wandered down into her new safe burrow.”
Wildlife Victoria spokesperson Megan Harrison said the organisation often received calls for help from the areas of Officer and Pakenham.
“These are the areas we get a lot of problems, because of the increased growth and development,” Ms Harrison explained.
“The growth corridors are really problematic for this reason. Wildlife have lost their habitat due to the new estates being built.”
She urged residents to “be aware, slow down and learn to live with wildlife”.
If you see an animal that is clearly displaced, report the incident to Wildlife Victoria by calling 8400 7300.