Officials with the Tatooine Department of Wildlife announced today that the long imperiled womp rat is believed to be extinct in the wild. At not much bigger than two meters, womp rat numbers declined steadily since human settlement, mostly due to habitat loss as native desert was converted to moisture farms.
But it was the local practice of “bulls-eyeing” that finally pushed the species over the brink.
Shooting the animals for fun or target practice, bulls-eyeing has been a popular form of entertainment for the young men of Tatooine for decades. “We’ve done a lot of local outreach over the years,” TDW communications director Bob Fett related, “but there were some segments of the population we just weren’t able to reach.”
The loss of the species once again emphasizes the need for constructive recreational facilities on planet. “What are kids supposed to do?” local T-16 salesmen Luke Georgas pointed out. “There’s nothing to do around here. Are they supposed to go down to Mos Eisles? That’s nothing but a wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
Long regarded as a sacred animal by the Jawa, the womp rat was among a group of species native to the desert planet facing conservation threats including several sub-species of bantha and the pit dwelling sarlacc.