Thank you, National Capital Authority

Last Monday I walked around the middle section of Lake Burley Griffin (commonly known as a bridge-to-bridge walk) and came across a dead animal near the National Carillon. [I’ll insert the photograph at the bottom of this post so you aren’t grossed out too early and this sentence is basically an alert.]

National Carillon on Lake Burley Griffin Bridge to Bridge Gary Lum
National Carillon on Lake Burley Griffin

Asking social media for assistance

I posted a photograph to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram asking what it might be.

I received all manner of responses that covered the three main extant mammalian groups, i.e.,

  • Subclass Prototheria (containing the Order Monotremata), [Platypus]
  • Cohort Marsupialia, and [Wombat, Possum {Opossum for American friends}, Quoll]
  • Cohort Placentalia. [Rabbit, Water rat]

What could it be?

Except for the quoll, I thought each suggestion was reasonable. The artificial lakes and the surrounding bushland of Canberra are home to many mammal species. The Molonglo River is the afferent waterway to Lake Burley Griffin and a home to some platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). If you drive around the south of Canberra a sad sight is dead wombats bloating on the side of roads with their legs up. If you walk around Lake Burley Griffin at dusk and dawn you’ll see lots of rabbits and occasionally if you see a disturbance in the water especially near floating rubbish, you’ll see dirty big water rats. Possums are all over Canberra and at dawn, you can often see them scurrying about ready to quickly climb a tree. Occasionally, you’ll also see a fox on the streets of Canberra, usually at night. No one on social media mentioned a fox as a possibility.

To the rescue, the National Capital Authority

Shortly after posting the photograph, the National Capital Authority Facebook account contacted me asking for a location so that a contractor could be sent out to retrieve the animal for disposal. Fortunately, the EXIF metadata for that photograph contained the GPS coordinates (see the Facebook post below) and I was able to share that information. It was after that, that the animal was identified as a wombat. Poor thing, I really like wombats. They are so very cute. If you want to support native animal rescue, they sell calendars of wombats to help fund their work.
If you click on this embedded Facebook image you should be able to see the conversation I had with the kind people at the NCA.

Canberra or the Australian Capital Territory is a self-governing territory of Australia, however, some parts of Canberra, especially the important parts like the Parliamentary Zone, the Defence and security areas, the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin and the diplomatic precinct come under the planning authority of the National Capital Authority.

The NCA is an Australian Government agency (not part of the ACT Government) and is responsible for the national land of Canberra. They are really unsung heroes, keeping the important parts of Canberra maintained and in good order for the Australian Government, for Australia and for Australians.

Lessons learnt

As a result of seeing this dead wombat, I’ve learnt that platypus occupy parts of the Molonglo River and platypuses have been found in LBG before; wombats don’t just die from being hit by motor vehicles but they can also drown in Canberra’s artificial waterways; and the National Capital Authority has an important role in the life of Canberra.

Dead animal Lake Burley Griffin Bridge to Bridge Gary Lum
Dead animal Lake Burley Griffin

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16 Replies to “Thank you, National Capital Authority”

  1. I can remember not to long ago that I had seen a dog in bad shape called and they me feel like I was doing something wrong
    A big difference in cultures
    As Sheldon Always

  2. I am so liking the things you share from your area. If it wasn’t so freaking hot, I’d really want to move to your area! Road kill in the US remains til something carries it off. Not sure about cities, though- I do know a cougar showed up in Portland, Or one 4th of July. He had to be removed. Of course, people kept flocking to the tree it was in and creating a ruckus. Cats of any kind are not to be trusted! Especially when there are fireworks involved! I’m glad someone noticed your post and steps were taken to remove this poor thing. I now think you need to post a LIVE wombat photo!

    1. If I see a live wombat I will Kris.
      Road kill here is a serious problem, especially in summer. The smell is horrific.

    1. True, and I love that with technology, I could provide the GPS coordinates rather than guessing 😃

    1. Thanks JM. This gnawed at me because I wanted to know what it was and normally I’d grab a stick and check it out but I couldn’t at the time.

    2. Wise choice…but most people would probably have just forgotten about it and went about their day (and by the looks of that scene, it appears that is what happened!).

      It’s hard to think of such an adorable sweet creature ending up with this fate.

      This adventure of yours touched my heart. 🙂

    3. Awww, thanks JM. Wombats are very cute. They’re also very tough creatures.

  3. Very sad end for the wombat, and all the other creatures laying around there. I don’t think we have that much animals all over the place in Melbourne. Then again, maybe this just happens near the water.

    1. Our greatest problem is the kangaroo car collisions followed by wombat and echidna deaths on the roads.

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