US millionaire leaves estate to wombats

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
wombat

WEALTHY WOMBATS: Baby wombat Ronan celebrates the good life as an American millionaire leaves a fortune to wombats in his will. Picture: SARAH REED

IN a real-life fairytale, an American millionaire has bequeathed $8 million to the Mannum-based Wombat Awareness Organisation.

“We are still in shock, we’re still waiting for someone to say the money’s not coming,” director Brigitte Stevens said yesterday.

“It’s unbelievable really, we’re just blown away.”

The millionaire, whose family has requested anonymity, unexpectedly visited the team of volunteers about two years ago to see the southern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild.

“I took him out into the wild population and showed him wombats with mange, wombats that were starving to death and wombats with burrows from motorbike tyres,” she said.

The millionaire, who worked in the horse-racing industry, was captivated by the volunteers’ tireless efforts to save what may be becoming an endangered icon.

Ms Stevens – who works to help pay bills, including last year’s $70,000 vet fees – wants to buy two properties in the Murraylands and run a 24-hour free vet advice phone clinic.

However, with the bequest being delivered over eight years, and the first $1 million instalment due only next year, she says they still need money.

“We still really need SA support from people, because we could be waiting 12 months for the money and we’re really struggling,” she said.

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