21-year-old Campbell Jones and his girlfriend were out for a bike ride in Rottnest, Australia, when they came across what is possibly the friendliest quokka on Earth.
“As I walked back to my bike, the quokka chased after me,” Jones told the West Australian.
Landclearing has robbed them of much of their preferred densely vegetated habitat, forcing quokkas into fragmented pockets.
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However, mainland populations have dramatically contracted, with their area of occupancy on the mainland possibly halved.
The quokka is now restricted to a number of small scattered populations on the mainland, Rottnest and Bald Island, near Albany.
On islands where these pests have been excluded, quokka populations have remained healthy.
But even on Rottnest Island, a Class A reserve, refuge is threatened by tourist development, and quokkas are being exposed to human disease and poor diets.
Understanding what is limiting quokka recovery within the burnt area could hold clues to how they'll fare during the more frequent and intense wildfires predicted in a drying climate.
To learn about the impact of these fires and to assist in future management, we’ll continue to monitor quokkas over the long-term. They’re also beautifully adapted to the unpredictable Australian environment.
The quokka clan makes its home in swamps and scrublands, tunnelling through the brush to create shelters and emerging at night to eat grasses, leaves, roots and seeds.
When water is scarce, this little wallaby dines on water-storing succulents.
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