National Report: Australia’s Response to Sarcoptic Mange in Wombats. Page ii. V2.0 — Final — 5 October 2018. Table of Contents.
The Current Picture
Sarcoptic mange in wombats is a voracious infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei that, unless
treated, progresses until the animal is so severely compromised that it dies with immense suffering.
Mange can spread rapidly through populations, particularly those of high density.
It affects all three sub-species of Vombatus ursinus (bare-nosed wombat) and Lasiorhinus latifrons
(southern hairy-nosed wombat) whose combined home ranges cover ACT, NSW, SA, TAS, VIC and WA.
Mange is addressed by a range of committed volunteers and professionals but with no leadership or
coordination of their efforts. Mange-affected wild wombats are treated by volunteer wildlife
groups/carers with the support of veterinarians and landowners. Research is conducted by several
academics who take a particular interest in the subject.
Analysis of stakeholder inputs to this report found a number of key needs and concerns:
The need for a coordinated approach to managing mange across all regions
The need for credible data about wombat populations and mange prevalence
The need for a greater understanding of mange and better treatment options
Concern about the efficacy of the current treatment regimen and difficulties executing it
Concern about a lack of clear information and a strong sense of “I just don’t know what to do”.
These needs and concerns represent fundamental hurdles to responding to mange effectively, but
there is currently no framework to address them. In short, sarcoptic mange appears to fall between
the cracks of Australia’s wildlife management system.
Establish national coordination of the response to mange and prepare a plan of action.
Determine whether any management strategy should focus solely on wombats or address
mange on a multi-species basis.
Establish national surveillance of wombat populations and the prevalence of mange.
Draft a comprehensive research agenda — a prioritised list of the most pressing research
needs — and actively promote that agenda in the scientific and philanthropic communities.
Assess mange treatments and application methods in current use and, as appropriate,
initiate further study to determine their safety, efficacy and optimal dose range. Start with
topically applied Cydectin®
as this is the only APVMA-approved treatment.
Determine whether any other threats to wombats require greater focus than they currently
receive — for example, road deaths, toxoplasmosis, habitat loss, climate change.