On 21 April 2005, Sue Forrester writes:

Tonight Bill & I had a truly uplifting and at the same time, deeply humbling experience. Not Airedale-related exactly, but I think you'll travel with us on this one.

Most of you know our home is called Wombat Bend, our small five-acre patch of Airedale Paradise in the Yarra Valley, southern Victoria, Australia. We do have wombats, several of them, and they (mostly) live safely in burrows along the creek bank bordering WB, happily munching roots & things out there in the paddocks during the night, and slumbering deep underground during the day.

Tragically, two weeks ago, a big wombat girl was killed on our quiet country lane by a far too fast-driving hoon of a neighbour, who has no respect for any kind of living creature. I buried her, amid many tears, the following day. She was beautiful.

What I did not know was that she had a baby at foot, and he must have escaped by a mere whisper, only to be left alone & forlorn and quite unable to survive many days without his Mummy. Adult wombats are exceedingly territorial, and even a baby is regarded as an interloper if no parent is there to defend him.


Little Sleepyhead, even when awake.

(What a nose for a BIGNOSEPOKE!)

Two days ago, I saw him for the first time, and realised that he was all alone. It is rare to see a wombat during the day, but there he was, nibbling at oddments along the top of the creek bank. I had no hope of catching him, as even a baby can bolt at a surprising speed. He scampered off to his burrow, leaving me to worry about ways of catching him, for his own safety.


Wombat Bend Billabong in Summer
January 2003

Yesterday we saw him again, sleeping by the roadside in the gentle autumn sun. I thought he was dead, and got out of the car to pick him up. Not likely. He woke and again scurried off, giving me another sleepless night.

Well, with great good fortune, this morning Bill succeeded in catching him and gently secured him in a lidded box. I phoned our local wildlife angels, and tonight we deposited him in the caring arms of a wonderful girl called Porscha, who lives about ten minutes from us. She works full-time in a local animal shelter, and the remainder of each 24 hours, she devotes herself to a menagerie of wombats, kangaroos, owls; in fact, any creature in need of care & rehabilitation. I have no idea when she sleeps.


"My, what large feet you have . . ."

"All the better to make BIGPAWDEMANDS!"

Our little guy, whom she immediately named "Forrest" (which I rather like) she pronounced reasonably okay, though another few days in the wild would have seen him die a miserable death. He is exhausted from stress & alone-ness, but after being firmly wrapped in a bunnyrug, and quietly checked for general health, he began to suckle just the tiniest bit of special formula that Porscha had ready for him. We stayed with her for two hours, helped dress a wound that was horribly exposed on his back, removed various grass ticks and then left him tucked up in a make-believe burrow.


The Wound

Safe & secure, Porscha will feed him again in an hour, and again during the night. He will have a complete vet check tomorrow, and remain with her till he is 15 to 18 months old (another year from now). After that, we may be able to rehabilitate him at Wombat Bend, back in the wild.

Please can you spare some of the strongest AireZen for our little Forrest wombat baby. I'm sure he needs it.

Porscha herself is a Wildlife Angel. Every single thing she does for these beloved animals is funded from her own pocket, every veterinary item she pays for herself, not a cent is available from any other source. The spirit of goodness shines out of her. Bill & I intend to contribute what we can, it's nowhere near enough, but as we know in the world of Airedales, every little bit can help to make a difference.



Porscha & Little Forrest . . . safe & secure

And Libby & Garry, guess what? Porscha has agreed that I may take you for a visit when you are with us in June, so you can see baby wombats up close & personal.

And I will keep you all posted about Forrest!


Click on the photo above to learn more about
Australia's indigenous Wombat,
closely related to the Koala

The next day, Sue writes:

This morning when I opened up the computer, it was bulging with emails from just EVERYONE all over the world! It would seem that Little Forrest the Wombat Baby has burrowed deep into your wonderful loving hearts, and so many of you want to donate some $$$ for his care, and that of his other burrow-mates.

Bill & I are overwhelmed, just sitting reading your emails with tears pouring down our faces.

I do have a PayPal account for all of you who have asked, and I would absolutely guarantee that every cent sent would immediately be given to Porscha for her incredible work. For anyone wishing to donate to Forrest, please remember to make it in Australian dollars.

My PayPal account email address is

[To see how many Australian dollars to send to equal what you want to give in American dollars, visit the UNIVERSAL CURRENCY CONVERTER site. For example, BobMyBoss & I are sending Porscha US$30 - which is the equivalent of AUD$38.50 . . .]

[If you do not have a PayPal account and wish to donate, contact Andréa HERE to make other arrangements.]

The total given on 26 June (in OZ), was 2000 AUD - 1479.66 USD - 1240.57 EUR - 1828.41 CAD - 841.337 GBP.

The total as of 3 August (in OZ), is 2500 AUD - 1912.01 USD - 1563.00 EUR - 2312.86 CAD - 1077.83 GBP.

Where in the world are the contributions coming from? Click HERE to find out.

Donations are still welcome. If you have PayPal, contact Sue directly HERE. If you do not have PayPal, contact Andréa directly HERE.

It would be absolutely amazing to be able to give Porscha a few dollars all the way from overseas, from the Airedale community. I think she would be totally stunned. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for anyone wishing to do this.

Wombats look like little squat bears on four short stumpy legs, with adorable rounded heads, short ears and bright button eyes. Typically their coats are thick, coarse and shiny hair, their feet are bare-soled with long strong claws for digging their burrows and obtaining roots for food. Their teeth grow continuously so they must chew and gnaw on hard stuff as well as grasses, and we have one patch of ground here which is continually scratched over as the resident wombats search for roots. Males can grow to 80 pounds, females to 60 pounds, and undisturbed can live for many years. Whilst they do live in loose colonies and many of the burrows are interconnected, they do not co-habit as a group and can in fact be quite aggressive to newcomers. So little Forrest all on his own, without his Mama, would not stand a chance in the colony.

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