Lonely Planet Writer

Stop chasing wombats for selfies, urges this Tasmanian island

Maria Island in Tasmania is known for its beautiful scenery and the kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and wombats that call it home. Now, with more travellers heading to the national park to catch of glimpse of its adorable inhabitants, officials are asking visitors to pledge to treat the land and animals with respect.

Baby wombat with its mother at Maria Island. Image by Posnov/Getty Images

Maria Island has introduced the new Maria Pledge, which urges travellers to respect the land, but also not to chase the adorable wombats in an effort to get the perfect selfies. The pledge reads: “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.” It goes on to say “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.”

A wombat grazing in the bush on the former penal colony of Maria Island. Image by ©Nina B/Shutterstock

Maria Island, off the east coast of Tasmania, has no shops and the few travellers that visit camp out on the site. In the summer months, a ferry transports visitors there each day to go hiking, wildlife spotting, mountain biking, snorkeling and more. But, particularly if interest in the island continues to grow, visitors must be educated on how to keep the cute animals wild.

This isn’t the first time that officials in Australia are warning people to keep away from animals. In New South Wales, officials in new Lake Macquarie, which is home to many kangaroos, are trying to educate travellers about not bothering kangaroos.