In the sad photo, the wombat's pouch can be clearly seen bulging – an "obvious" sign it is carrying a joey, one dismayed wildlife rescuers said in a plea to motorists.
The image is the aftermath of a roadkill collision believed to be in the early hours of Sunday morning and despite being notified the animal had already died, the local wildlife rescuer still rushed to the roadside in Robertson, NSW with one thing in mind.
"The pouch is extended; carrying a young joey," rescuer Kerstin Schweth wrote online. The pictures highlight just how visibly full the mother's pouch is with the juvenile, weighing 1.6kg, peaking out from beneath.
Wildlife rescuers continue to beat the same drum
"It is beyond my comprehension why drivers who have an encounter with wildlife don’t stop to check for the above," Kerstin said.
The message of 'stop and check' is consistently reiterated by rescuers — the simple act has a hugely positive impact on Australia's wildlife if widely adopted by motorists.
The wombat rescuer reminded motorists who find themselves in this situation to stop and check if the animal is alive and check its pouch, as well as move it from the road "so it is not a hazard for following traffic" before contacting a wildlife group for assistance.
"The sooner we get to them the better it is ... If you do hit something, check if it is still alive, or if it has a joey in the pouch," Kerstin told Yahoo News Australia in July after responding to another wombat fatality in the same town.
Over 10 million animals are hit on Australian roads every year, however Kerstin believes this figure could be drastically reduced if motorists stop after an incident.
"If motorists report the crash maybe the mother can be saved, or at least she could be taken out of her misery and the baby can be saved."
If motorists don't know which local wildlife group to contact in the event of a collision with an animal, the International Fund Animal Welfare (IFAW) app helps to pinpoint the closest one.
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