AN order declaring wombats unprotected wildlife across much of North East Victoria is under review following reports of Chinese tourists hunting them.
State Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said she had responded to news of wombats being shot at by foreigners at a Yea property linked to Crown casino by looking at reassessing rules.
"We need to make sure wombats, like all wildlife in Victoria, are adequately protected, that's why we are reviewing the rules to ensure the protection of wombat populations," she said.
In 193 Victorian areas, identified as parishes, wombats can be killed or controlled under specific conditions without a permit.
These districts extend from Myrtleford to Mitta and from Yackandandah to Mount Beauty.
Ms D'Ambrosio has directed her department to review those rules and examine the distribution and number of wombats and the threats that exist to their conservation.
The Wildlife Act protection exemption for the 193 areas was first made in 1984 and reiterated in 1997 by the then Conservation Minister.
Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Phil Ingamells said the order should have been revised considering changing circumstances.
"It may also be an illegal delisting because the act requires, if they delist something, that there is a time period and there is no time period on the gazettal," he said.
The order specifies that landholders involved in primary production in those parishes can destroy wombats "only by a centre-fire rifle, fitted with a telescopic sight".
Wombats have long been seen as a pest in the areas, a 1969 report told of 478 kilograms of cyanide being used to kill them around Mitta.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council secretary Eve Kelly said her group had been lobbying for total immunity for wombats in Victoria for years.
"It's a major, major issue and activists have been banging their heads against a brick wall," she said.
"The wombats are treated like they are garbage."
Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here