Tourists visiting Tasmania‘s Maria Island have been asked to sign a pledge in which they agree to stop taking selfies with wombats.
The pledge, an initiative of business in the Orford and Triabunna area, has been created with the assistance of Parks and Wildlife. It has been translated into Mandarin and is available online and on ferries to the island.
I take this pledge to respect and protect the furred and feathered residents of Maria. I will remember you are wild and pledge to keep you this way.
I promise I will respectfully enjoy the wonders of your beautiful island home, from the wharf, to the Painted Cliffs, to the Rocky bluffs, haunted bays and mystery of Maria’s ruins.
Wombats, when you trundle past me I pledge I will not chase you with my selfie stick, or get too close to your babies. I will not surround you, or try and pick you up. I will make sure I don’t leave rubbish or food from my morning tea. I pledge to let you stay wild.
I vow to explore with a sense of responsibility, adventure and kindness. I will leave your wild island as I found it, and take home memories filled with beauty and my soul filled up with wonder.
So far more than 450 people have signed the wombat pledge.
East Coast Tourism chief executive Ruth Dowty told ABC Radio Hobart the visitors don’t mean any harm but had forgotten wombats were wild animals.
“The tourists are in love with the wombats; so in love that we need to give them some education about how to interact with them,” she says.
Although the Maria Island wombats don’t run away from the camera, wildlife experts say all the attention is stressing them out.