Australia is only a horrifying natural death trap so it can balance out the adorableness of the quokka

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/31/australia-is-only-a-horrifying.html

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Just asking why it is illegal to take a selfie with a Quokka? Besides being wildlife

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I think people used to steal/kill them a lot, so now you’re not supposed to touch them at all, for protection.

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That’s sensible… I didn’t understood

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They’re currently vulnerable, and tend towards being an endangered species. Being an island animal they tend to have fewer natural predators and so don’t have natural caution towards humans (hence the “friendly” descriptor).

We have laws to protect all of our vulnerable and endangered species - and banning handling them in the wild except by licensed exceptions is usually part of it (e.g. conservationist workers and researchers)

There are plenty of reasons why handling a wild animal are a bad idea for the animal. Aside from accidental physical harm (they are small and quite easily injured), if you feed them they may end up starving waiting for more tourist treats that never come after you leave. Basically: the safest place for any wild animal to be in the wild is nowhere near human beings.

Sydney Zoo has several Quokka, though.

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This, too.

People smuggling drugged out native animals in poster tubes is a depressingly common practice even now.

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I hope they survival all the invasive assholes.

Does Instagram still block warning tag selfies?

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This makes me wish the people who thought using this animal was a good PR move really considered the downside of making them popular. Also, I couldn’t believe the guy in the video who claimed the quokka is the most ridiculous looking animal. Has he never seen or heard of a platypus?

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Quokkas are featuring heavily in Tourism Australia’s latest (and exceptionally well-timed) campaign here in the UK; in which a bunch of jet set Aussie celebrities take a break from bleating about environmentalism to encourage us to make unnecessary flights to their burning country.

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It looks like something George Lucas (and now Disney) would throw into a Star Wars film to sell more toys.

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"The reforms come after two French tourists set fire to a quokka on Rottnest Island earlier this month. "

Holy Shit!! What unspeakable assholes!

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I wonder if they would make nice pets? Australia has so much problems with imported species that they would be better off using native marsupials since people are going to have pets in any case and some of them will escape. Better have a pet where all you have to worry about is if it is going to survive, not if it is going to hunt the nativa fauna into extinction.

Obviously you need strict regulations in the start to ensure thay aren’t hunted to extinction in the wild, and that only good breeders can start a program of making a domesticated subspecies. Cheap DNA-testing should help in preventing criminals from catching their own quokka’s to sell.

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I pray for these “tourists” to meet an equally unspeakable death.

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Pets, regardless of the species, are always bad for the natural population of animals. Seriously, why would you want an animal like this living in your house and relying on you for food?

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I’m not sure what harm an indigenous, vegetarian pet would do to the natural populations. Care to give an exemple? I suppose in theory, if we domesticate it too much and too many escape and mate with wild populations it may reduce their fitness, but that seems to be a fairly small problem.

Why do people want cats and dogs down in Australia? Especially cats are real killers, and any way you could replace them would help the local wildlife. Unless you want to outlaw pets, it’s just a matter of what animals we keep.

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I’m pretty sure that Quokka are probably toxic and venomous, because this is Australia.

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I completely agree. I oppose pet ownership in general because it doesn’t put the interests of the animal ahead of humans.

An indigenous animal, kept as a pet, would likely be kept outside its normal range. It would distort native populations regardless of how it was managed.

And in any event it is mostly illegal to keep indigenous animals as pets here.

I have a few of these little dudes in my backyard every night:

…which is why my veggie patch has to look like this:

They’re murder on the carrots.

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I think the answer to your question hinges on what you mean by “nice”. If all you care about is whether or not it will eat your face while you sleep, then sure, knock yourself out. Maybe you can figure out how to make it work.

But if by “nice” you mean, “suitable”, then in all likelyhood no, it won’t thrive in captivity. In all of human history, we’ve managed to domesticate 22 species of mammals. 23 if you count that red fox variety that some Russian spent a lifetime with.

Everything humans keep as pets that haven’t been bred for the purpose, tend to have very special environmental needs that can only realistically be met by rich eccentrics and zoos.

Turtles (for example) don’t usually make good pets at all, they just take a long time to die is all.

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Oh I don’t know, dogs especially seem pretty well adapted to it, after who knows how many tens of thousands of years (I suppose some boffins have figured out how many tens of thousands, but you know what I mean). I’ve met a lot of quite happy pet dogs, and I bet most of them will live a lot longer than dogs generally do in the wild.

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