2 Mar 2017
BABY QUOKKA A SIGN OF HOPE FOR FIRE-RAVAGED POPULATION
Today on World Wildlife Day WWF-Australia is celebrating evidence that the vulnerable mainland Northcliffe quokka population has grown by at least one.
A routine inspection of remote sensor cameras picked up multiple sightings of a young quokka joey at the feet of its mother and another adult quokka, thought to be a male.
The joey is great news for the Northcliffe quokka population, which was significantly reduced after a severe fire tore through Western Australia’s southern forests in 2015. A survey of the fire zone by WWF-Australia 12 months after the blaze revealed that only 39 quokkas remained.
WWF-Australia Species Conservation Manager, Merril Halley, said: “The two adult quokkas were both survivors of the intense blaze so we were all thrilled to see a joey. Any sign of population recovery brings hope for the species.”
“The mother and an adult male quokka also seem to be on very good terms and have been seen together consistently for the past 6 months. It is unusual to see male-female interaction over a period of time as long as this, so this is really interesting for us.”
“The sensor cameras we’ve set up in the field provide vital information about the health of the species and habitat, as well as let us know if any predators are making their way into the area.”
“We are working to radio collar surviving quokkas so we can monitor how they move back into the burn area as it recovers, see if their range increases as well as monitor their welfare.”
“It’s going to take a lot of time for the quokka habitat to be fully restored. Undergrowth is slowly returning, but canopy regeneration takes time. With such a small number of quokkas left in the region, it’s vital that we are out there protecting these animals.”
“The young joey filmed is a sure sign that recovery is well under way in this area.”
World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.