A very special day has rolled around for Lizzie, the orphaned wombat joey – she’s celebrating her first birthday today! Whilst birthday cake wasn’t on the menu for the adorable wombat, a massive bouquet of fresh grass for her to munch on, along with a nice bottle of warm milk was.

To celebrate her birthday, Lizzie partied with her friend Ash the koala in one of the Koala yard’s at the Park and was showered with lots of love from Keeper Tahrnia, receiving all the cuddles and scratches she could ever want. After a long day of partying and doing ‘zoomies’, Lizzie was spotted curled up on Keeper Tahrnia’s lap and having a snooze.

Unfortunately, the cute joey didn’t have an easy start to life. Back in September, Lizzie was found in her mum’s pouch by a passer-by on the side of the road after her mum was hit and killed by a car. Suddenly alone in the world, Lizzie was brought to the Australian Reptile Park where zookeeper Hayley Shute became her new carer and surrogate mum, providing the adorable wombat with around the clock care (including a bottle feed at 3am) and the cuddles she craved.

From her strength to survive the ordeal, the Keepers at the Park named the strong little wombat after Her Royal Majesty as a tribute to another strong female who left a lasting impression on the entire world.

Hayley Shute says “I cannot believe we’re celebrating her first birthday today. When Lizzie first arrived, I really wasn’t sure whether she’d make it but I’m so glad to see her thriving and she’s just growing up so fast! I can’t wait to see how she goes over the next few months. Fingers crossed, we will soon have the chance to release her back into the wild.”

Ms Shute goes on to explain “With school holidays being the busiest period for people to be out and about on the roads, we urge drivers to take caution and to slow down if you see wildlife on the roads. Cars are one of the biggest threats to our wildlife population and is the exact reason as to why Lizzie ended up here at the Park. We’re grateful to have her here, but we also wish she was living a normal life in the wild with her mum. So many animals are killed by vehicles each year and if we all took a little more care, we can decrease the number dramatically!”

For now, Lizzie will remain at the Australian Reptile Park for roughly 12 months. At this stage, it will be decided if she is strong enough to be released to the wild. Visitors may be lucky to see Lizzie walking through the Park with a Keeper while she’s settling in and finding her feet.