, 2022-12-04 22:13:53,
It’s 2019, and Brigitte Stevens stands beside a nondescript road at twilight in South Australia’s Murray country. She’s here to rescue wombats that have been buried alive on public lands.
“This was deliberate, unfortunately,” she says. “I don’t know why they did it.”
Located on the edge of the road, the burrow was filled because of safety concerns. Initially, a one-way door was put in front of the burrow to try and trap the wombats.
“One-way doors are not successful in soft soil as the wombats simply dig around them,” says Brigitte.
Another burrow, away from the road, was also filled.
“I do not know if this one was filled in due to malice, but there was certainly no need for it,” she says.
Out of her own pocket, Brigitte has hired a mini excavator to unearth the wombat burrows. She records the machinery in a 30-minute livestream to her Wombat Awareness Organisation Facebook page, which has a following of more than 200,000 people.
“Today is night four of them being buried alive. We can hear the wombats breathing and digging,” says Brigitte in the video. “We might get in trouble, but you know, what do you do? You can’t leave an animal buried alive.”
The machinery shifts through tonnes of red sand, creating a deep trench beside the road. As the evening lengthens, the entrance to a wombat burrow is revealed. Brigitte returns to the site the next day and spends six hours clearing away the displaced soil.
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