Affectionately nicknamed ‘Lingy’ by park rangers – presumably after red-haired former Geelong Cats AFL player Cameron Ling – the wombat has been seen sporadically over the past few months but, more recently, had been seen more regularly during daylight hours, often interacting with a smaller wombat.
While native animals, including wombats, are not uncommon within the reserve in east Gippsland, this particular male wombat has a distinctive, and unusual, red hue to his coat.
Red hair occurs naturally in 1-2 per cent of the human population and it is thought the rate is similar in wombats.
Parks Victoria ranger Tim Davidson said, as wombats were nocturnal, he had been keeping a close eye on Lingy and it was possible he was looking for a mate.
He said Lingy was also showing early signs of mange (mite infestation), which could also help explain his daylight wanderings, so he was now being treated for that.
Visitors to Buchan Reserve are encouraged to enjoy the wide range of wildlife in the area but are reminded to enjoy them from a distance, and not attempt to touch or feed any native animals or birds.