Baby quokka caught on camera great news for vulnerable population

By AG Staff 3 March 2017
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The new joey quokka is a happy sign after fires almost wiped out the local population in 2015.

REMOTE SENSOR CAMERAS have captured footage of a baby quokka with two adults near Northcliffe, Western Australia.

The sighting is great news for the vulnerable local population – which was decimated after fires swept through Western Australia’s southern forests in 2015. When WWF-Australia surveyed the area 12 months after the blaze, it was revealed only 39 of the mainland Northcliffe quokka population had survived.

“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,” said Merril Halley, WWF-Australia Species Conservation Manager.

“The young joey filmed is a sure sign that recovery is well under way in this area,” she said.



Motion-activated sensor camera captured a quokka joey living in the bushfire recovery area near Northcliffe, WA. (Images: Karlene Bain / WWF-Aus)

As well as being pleased to see evidence of successful breeding in the local population, conservationists were also interested in the behaviour of the two adult quokkas.

“The mother and an adult male quokka also seem to be on very good terms and have been seen together consistently for the past six months,” said Merril. “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 motion-activated sensor cameras are set up in the area to provide information about the health of the species and the habitat. Conservationists are also working to fit the surviving quokkas with radio collars, to monitor how they move back into the burnt area as it recovers.

“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,” Merril said.