It’s a (post) Christmas miracle – Merlin the wombat found alive and very well

Sally Hopman 26 December 2021 46
wombat and human

Merlin the wandering wombat safe in his carer’s arms today after being found at Hackett. Photo: ACT Wildlife.

As if by magic, Merlin the missing wombat has been found.

The 22kg marsupial, which went missing from his Ainslie carers’ home on December 14, was found this morning (26 December) about 5km away behind a Hackett house. The home backs on to a reserve where Merlin’s carers believe he had been digging in, making himself at home.

The Hackett family, which was on its way to catch a plane to go on holidays, spotted Merlin. Their neighbour, who had seen the story about Merlin’s disappearance on Riotact on December 22, suggested it might be the missing wombat, and they called the rangers.

It took only half an hour from when the Hackett family found Merlin to him being returned to the safety (and likely newly reinforced fence around his) carers’ home at Ainslie.

“I’ve been doing my happy dance all morning, and so has everyone else,” ACT Wildlife’s Lindy Butcher said. “We’ve had wombats go missing before but never for this long. We were starting to get quite concerned.”

“The rangers called me and then I called everyone to say he was safe,” she said. “The carer family went over there straight away. Merlin was a little apprehensive about the new people there but when he saw his carer and heard his voice, he went straight to him.

“He calmed Merlin down and gave him some treats he’d brought and then took him home.

“Remarkably, he hasn’t got a scratch on him. He’s still plump, he’s in a beautiful condition.”


READ ALSO: Wombat with joey caught on camera ‘fantastic’ sign for secret ACT sanctuary


Merlin had been with the Ainslie carers since late last year when he was brought in as a tiny orphan, weighing under 2kg. It has been a family effort, with everyone looking after the, now, big fellow, from bottle feeds as a baby to dealing with his not always happy disposition as a toddler.

“If he’s grumpy, that means we’ve done our job well because that’s his natural demeanour,” Lindy said.

After he was found today, Lindy said she spoke to his carers and they’ve decided to bring forward his move back into the wild to tomorrow.

“He’s clearly ready to go,” she said. “It’s like he’s told us.

“We knew he was ready, we were just waiting on finding the best area for his burrow and access to water – but we have decided to let him go tomorrow,” she said.

There is probably only one person, sorry marsupial, not so thrilled that Merlin has returned to Ainslie. That would be a youngster called Garritt, who became the only marsupial of the house when Merlin was on the waddle.

Also unlikely to be thrilled later today, will be households in a 5km radius from Ainslie to Hackett where Merlin probably made his mark during his escape – with a burrow or 20 and perhaps strong evidence that he visited their shed or garage.


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46 Responses to It’s a (post) Christmas miracle – Merlin the wombat found alive and very well
Yukimaro Ii Yukimaro Ii 10:40 am 30 Dec 21

Lewis Ioannou Clayton Kennett miraculous

Alison Thomas Alison Thomas 3:52 pm 29 Dec 21

Thank you The Riotact for helping spread the word too. We are quite pleased he’s safe

Bev Wallace Bev Wallace 7:40 am 28 Dec 21

What good news 🐝

Claire McElhone Claire McElhone 8:19 pm 27 Dec 21

Christopher Martin glad you’re okay babe 😘

Elaina Dube Elaina Dube 12:35 pm 27 Dec 21

Thank goodness

Madeline Gower Madeline Gower 12:23 pm 27 Dec 21

Kira Joyce-Piper well they found him

Oda Baessler Oda Baessler 12:08 pm 27 Dec 21

Kimberley Slapp MERLIN

Penny Bubke Penny Bubke 11:03 am 27 Dec 21

His name must be Wombat Devine! (It’s a childrens’ book)

Jaffa Groube Jaffa Groube 10:55 am 27 Dec 21

Well wombats are peripatetic.

Ally Carrick Ally Carrick 10:33 am 27 Dec 21

THEY FOUND MERLIN Matt Foster

Amanda-Ged Hardy Amanda-Ged Hardy 9:21 am 27 Dec 21

Amazing not to have an encounter with a pathetic human and survive in its natural habitat

Carlene Bott Carlene Bott 8:37 am 27 Dec 21

so pleased he is found.

デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 8:28 am 27 Dec 21

So why is he being kept in captivity?

    Sally Hopman Sally Hopman 10:24 am 27 Dec 21

    デ スティーブHe was an orphan. The wonderful carers at ACT Wildlife rescued him and have spent more than a year preparing him for return to the wild. He is expected to be released into a specially chosen safe area in the next day or so as he has shown he can now survive on his own.

Sallyann Ducker Sallyann Ducker 7:37 am 27 Dec 21

Hello - I didn't know wombats wandered so far. that's amazing. So pleased Merlin has been found.

Sarah Ruzic Sarah Ruzic 7:17 am 27 Dec 21

Bev Baker do we know a certain Mrs who maybe missing her wombat??? 🤣🤣🤣

Connie Collins Connie Collins 7:09 am 27 Dec 21

Amy Glasson a nice story for you 😁

Liz Lyell Liz Lyell 4:31 am 27 Dec 21

How wonderful!!

Sharon Beresford Sharon Beresford 11:06 pm 26 Dec 21

Rohan Beresford - look out for holes and square poo!

Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 10:52 pm 26 Dec 21

How do they know it's the same wombat?

    Sally Hopman Sally Hopman 3:23 am 27 Dec 21

    Simon Wheaton because he went straight to his carer when they were reunited .

    Alison Thomas Alison Thomas 3:51 pm 29 Dec 21

    Simon Wheaton you get to know them too

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 3:53 pm 29 Dec 21

    Alison Thomas I was wondering when I saw the post asking for people to keep a look out for it, thinking how could anyone know whether it is that exact wombat or not. 😂

    Alison Thomas Alison Thomas 3:54 pm 29 Dec 21

    Simon Wheaton haha yes. They all have their own personalities and faces. His mum would be able to pick him out of a lineup

Stephen Bejamin Duff Stephen Bejamin Duff 10:28 pm 26 Dec 21

Adriana Smith womby went on an adventure!

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