A bittersweet day for everyone at the Australian Reptile Park has arrived today. Hope the wombat bought joy to millions all over the world in a time when they needed it the most. The tiny wombat arrived at the Australian Reptile Park right as the pandemic began to reach its peak in Australia, meaning the Central Coast wildlife sanctuary needed to close. In a global naming competition, the winning name was clear after countless entries of the same suggestion, Hope.

Hope quickly became a viral superstar, with a video featuring her and Elsa the koala becoming ‘lockdown buddies’ during isolation. The pair spent every day together and were quick to become best friends. The consistent videos and live streams being posted to the world during the Park’s closure was enough to bring happiness to those who needed it the most.

Hope has officially left the Park and is now living in the wild at Cedar Creek Wombat Rescue. She is currently residing in a large enclosure where she will eventually be let out into the wild in a safe, fenced habitat and able to live out her life surrounded by all her wombat friends, including the one and only famous George The Wombat who also resides at the sanctuary.

Australian Reptile Park General Manager, Tim Faulkner, says of Hope “We are sad to see Hope go, and we all miss her already! She definitely was a beacon of hope for us during a time where we all needed it, but we know it’s the best decision to return her to the wild and live out her days as a happy wombat!”

Faulkner added “Thanks to Hope and her rise to fame, she was a huge help to Australian wildlife. It is so important for Australians and international audiences to see just how glorious our native wildlife is – we are faced with the fastest mammal extinction rate in the world and Australian wildlife needs this kind of exposure to help people fall in love wildlife so they can join us by helping protect it. Hope during our closure has helped put wombats on the map!”

Hope the wombat came to the Australian Reptile Park after a heartbreaking start to life. But things started to look up for Hope once she arrived. When Hope was still in the pouch, her mum was hit and killed by a car. Thankfully, a passer-by checked her pouch and discovered Hope’s tiny, scared face staring back at her. Suddenly alone in the world, Hope was brought to the Australian Reptile Park where Tim Faulkner became her new ‘fill-in’ family, providing her with the milk she needed and the cuddles she craved.