While the Rottnest Island quokkas have become WA’s international tourist icon, gaining attention as the subject of various celebrity selfies shared the world over, few would realise the South West is home to a very small community of Australia’s only mainland quokkas.
And while the Rottnest Island population numbers about 10,000, mainland quokkas have disappeared from over 50 per cent of their range and are now limited to approximately 1,000 living in tiny pockets scattered throughout the South West.
Cut off from each other, they are considered vulnerable to extinction due to a lack of genetic diversity within their isolated communities and predation by feral animals.
Turning the Tide for our quokkas
In response, peak environmental charity South West NRM has launched a Christmas Giving Campaign in the hope of turning the tide by expanding its work in 2024 to restore numbers of South West quokkas.
Sustainability and Environment Lead Linda Metz said while Rottnest Island quokkas had adapted over time to feed during the day, mainland quokkas in the South West remained nocturnal which contributed to their low public profile.
“Our local quokkas are struggling to survive due to loss of habitat, introduced species and predators,” Ms Metz said.
How you can help our quokkas
“There is a great deal we can do to turn the tide on the declining quokka numbers on the mainland and everyone can help.
“Just $10 will cover the cost of planting a native tree to increase areas of natural habitat.”
The South West NRM region
The South West NRM region covers 4 million hectares of land between Australind in the north, Walpole in the South and Dumbleyung in the east. It includes a vast coastline, with diverse habitats such as old growth forests, Ramsar wetlands and one of only 36 Global Biodiversity Hotspots.
With 167 threatened species, South West NRM and its team of environmental experts are working to reduce threats and ensuring there are no new species extinctions in the region.
Work is undertaken in partnership with its Association Member groups, government, Traditional Owners, landholders and the wider community to build habitat and improve population numbers.
Tax Deductible donations can be made to South West NRM’s ‘Turn the Tide’ Christmas Giving Campaign our Donate Page.