Recently, researchers have discovered that mange – that has ravaged wombats in southern Australia could be brought under control using a treatment commonly applied by pet owners on cats and dogs – bravecto.
Mange is a disease which causes wombats to lose some or all of their fur and starve to death within months. It has wiped out more than 90 percent of common wombats in a single national park on the island state of Tasmania and it is estimated that there are now as few as three common wombats left in Tasmania’s Narawntapu National Park, where hundreds of the marsupials once roamed. Despite its name, the common wombats is no longer common, and it has been officially a protected animal in New South Wales since 1970.
Many past attempts to control the disease in the park failed. These attempts included the small doors the scientists invented over wombats’ burrows, a course of mange-fighting treatment that was adopted for several months in 2015, a program that initially seemed to eliminate mange but was deemed unsuccessful in 2016 after it became clear the effect of eliminating the mange was only temporary. However, the scientists were sure that bravecto which is used to treat mange in domestic cats and dogs, might be effective for wombats. Trials of the drug on captive wombats are expected to last for the next six to 12 months, followed by at least two years of trials on wild animals.
After reading this article, I am very delighted to know that there is finally a cure for the wombat-killing disease. Being an animal lover, I have been very concerned with this disease killing so many adorable wombats and learning that there is a cure found relieves me. What amazes me is that bravecto is useful in curing mange. I know that bravecto kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations. However, after research, I have discovered that bravecto is for dogs and cats and I am astounded to know that it is useful in curing mange. Additionally, the rapid loss of wombats has been linked to ecosystem decline, due to the role they play in the ecosystem. A new study led by Murdoch University has found that digging mammals play a key role in increasing nutrient turnover and water infiltration in soil, as well as dispersing seeds. Animals such as wombats, are credited with breaking up hard soil and recycling material, such as fallen leaves when they dig holes to live in. Thus, when the population of wombats decreases, there will be more leaf litter lying around, plants will have decreased growth rates and will not be as healthy when compared to when there are wombats present to dig holes to increase nutrient turnover and water infiltration in soil. This then links to population of consumers decreasing due to lesser producers. This makes me feel relieved that a cure was found for the wombats so we do not have to experience those consequences.
Law Xuan Ping