A much loved family member of the Cleland Wildlife Park has passed away at the age of 20.
He was flamboyant, cheeky and had a gentle nature. This is what made Fred the wombat one in a million.
General manager of Cleland Wildlife Park, David Rice said he was a wonderful animal and enjoyed his life at the park.
"Before Fred came to us he was rescued and cared for by the Ballarat Wildlife Park," Rice said.
"He was a little rescue wombat. He was transferred here to Cleland in 2002 and spent his remaining 19 years with us."
Wombat's are quite solitary animals. But, what made Fred a standout was his eagerness to please the crowds that flocked to see him.
"Fred lived an incredibly comfortable and happy life here in Cleland," Rice said.
"He was very well looked after and cared for. He was immensely popular with our guests and also with our keeping team and volunteers.
"Wombats are usually quite suspicions of human activity, so for him to share his enclosure with humans, made him unique and the experience quite rare.
"He was spoilt rotten. He had dinner dates with our visitors, even if his table manners were pretty ordinary. But, the interactions are what made him a special and unique wombat."
Fred may have had a pampered life at Cleland, but he also did a lot of great work for his species. All that work will be remembered and he will be sorely missed.
"Fred was incredibly gentle, kind, a little rambunctious and wonderful with humans," Rice said.
"Walking past his enclosure and not seeing him there is pretty tough for everyone on site.
"He raised awareness and conveyed really important conservation messages about the plight for wombats in the wild. The wombat population is declining in certain areas and part of those human interactions were showing the importance of looking after wombats in their natural environment.
"When it came to Fred, he was definitely the exception as opposed to the rule. He was a one of a kind wombat and a great ambassador for wombat-kind shall we say."
Fred the Cleland Wombat passed away on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
In honour of remembering and celebrating the life of Fred, it is encouraged that anyone who has a photo with Fred, post them on Instagram and share the memories using hashtags #FredtheWombat and #clelandwildlifepark.