Golden wonders: The rare wombats who are so big they're perfect for a cuddleThey are one of the rarest animals in Australia, but one wildlife park has managed to find two golden southern hairy nosed wombats who were rescued within six months of each other.Three-year-olds Icy and Polar have just gone on public display at Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide, Australia, after arriving from a rescue centre where they had been raised.
The pair were discovered within six months of each other in 2011.
Senior keeper Karen Davis holding rare golden wombat 'Icy' and Education Officer Claire Peterson holding 'Polar'
Cleland Wildlife Park Manager Nalini Klopp said: 'Golden wombats are virtually unknown in the wild, given their lighter colour makes them susceptible to prey, and we only know of one other in captivity.
'While their glossy colour comes from a rare gene, we don’t believe Icy and Polar are related. It’s just one of those things'.
- Stunning time-lapse photography captures the movement of rare Madagascan sifaka lemur as it scampers along a track
- Heart-wrenching moment a baby elephant discovers her mother has died... and refuses to leave her side
The animals resemble small bears, and the southern hairy-nosed wombat is more commonly found in brown, black or grey.
Experts say that they are shy, timid and live in small groups, while some species, such as the northern hairy-nosed wombat, are endangered due to the destruction of their habitat.
Polar, one of two three-year-old rare golden southern hairy nosed wombats on display at Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide
The keepers with the two marsupials. Wombats are in trouble as their grazing land has been destroyed by farming
Southern hairy-nosed wombats are not considered endangered, but the golden variety is very rare.
Ms Klopp added: 'Icy and Polar have spent the first few months of this year acclimatising to their new surroundings and are now happy in their new home. They join the park’s other hairy nosed wombats and common wombat'.
While they are still too young now, it is hoped that the marsupials may one day be suitable for breeding.
This comes at a difficult time for the wombat as experts report that thousand of southern hairy-nosed wombats are suffering 'ghastly' deaths as a result of poor vegetation.
A post-mortem of 20 wombats found that they had died in painful circumstances.
Adelaide Nowreported that veterinary pathologist Dr Lucy Woolford said: 'We are seeing wombats that have died - we find them dead because they are malnourished because they haven't had enough to eat.
Experts say that farmers must attempt to revegetate land that they do not use for crops to reinvigorate the wombat population
'Their preferred food source (native grass) has been diminished and in some areas is non-existent.
'It's a ghastly death for them - they are dying very slowly because they come out at night and there is nothing for them to eat.'
The University of Adelaide scientists added that farmers in Australia must do their bit to help by revegetating areas of land that they do not use for crops.
Volunteers are working to find out how many of the creatures are left.
Read more: Golden wonders: The rare wombats who are so big they're perfect for a cuddle | Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook