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Western Australian bush fires devastate Quokka population

Quokka are small marsupials and one of Australia’s smallest wallabies best known as the unofficial mascot of Rottnest Island off Perth, where they often “pose” for “quokka selfies”, the tiny animal was once widespread on the mainland. However, after last years’ fires only 39 of the 500 quokkas in Northcliffe can be found.

The fire went through nearly 100,000 hectares of quokka habitat in Northcliffe WA leaving only small patches of unburnt bush these patches can act as “stepping stones” for recolonization of the fire area. But as the surrounding area has been severely burnt, the surviving quokkas are highly vulnerable to predators and other threats, so active management of the area is needed to help them survive.”

The WWF said before the fire there were 43 sites known to be home to quokkas, but the survey revealed that only 10 of these are still able to support the animals.
Evidence suggests that populations in surrounding areas have increased, giving conservationists hope members of the colony remain in the area.

Top image courtesy of Hesperian

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Neil Bibby was Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 and Managing Director People and Innovation