Best job ever? The position of Chief Wombat Cuddler is now open

By admin
07 April 2016

This clip of Derek the baby wombat might make you want to move to Tasmania.

Who wouldn’t want to help keep such a plucky chap company? No wonder Tasmania’s tourism officials spotted a marketing opportunity and created the island’s first special temporary post of Chief Wombat Cuddler.

The successful applicant will be flown to Flinders Island for a paid three-day excursion to, among other things, hang out with little Derek, an orphaned wombat whose mother was run over by a car.

Candidates must explain in 25 words to Tourism Tasmania why they’re ideal for the job.

Derek stole the hearts of thousands of animal lovers when a video clip of him running around on a beach went viral. Just days after the video material, filmed by professional photographer Sean Scott during a visit to Flinders Island, was posted on Facebook 75 000 people had viewed it.

Indeed, who could resist that little face? And his beach antics, including catching up with Sean and pushing his head between Sean’s boots, will probably remind many people of an exuberant puppy on his first outing.

PHOTO: Sean Scott, Facebook PHOTO: Sean Scott, Facebook

The closing date for Chief Wombat Cuddler applications is 16 April, and unfortunately only Australian citizens may apply.

Meanwhile Derek isn’t short of attention. Kate Mooney, known as Tasmania’s Wombat Lady because she has saved the lives of so many of these marsupials, is hand-rearing him. She found Derek in his mom’s pouch after his mom had been run over in December.

At the time Derek weighed only 700 g. Wombats are the biggest of the burrowing animals and can grow to a metre long, weigh 25 to 30 kg and reach a top speed of 40 km/h when they get a fright.

One of the very few cases of aggression shown by one of these herbivores to people took place about five years ago when a pensioner accidentally stood on one. He suffered a few bites and scratches to his legs.

Kate began to care for wombats 20 years ago after she’d found a “joey” in its mother’s pouch. The mother had been hit by a car. She named the orphan Batski.

“I’ve been addicted to them ever since,” she says. “Just their nature, they’re very endearing; they know what they want and if they want to do something they’ll do it – the bulldozers of the bush.”


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