The bushfire-ravaged quokkas of Northcliffe in southwest WA received a lifeline today, with a very special new donor hopping in to purchase 30 new radio collars.
Chokka the Quokka, a creation of The Margaret River Chocolate Company, came to the rescue with a single gift of $8250 to fund all 30 collars. The gift forms part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support quokka conservation and research.
The southwest is home to three small colonies of this endangered species and WWF recently revealed the devastating impact of the 2015 Northcliffe bushfire on this key population of mainland quokkas. It is believed that up to 90% of the animals perished in the catastrophic fires.
In 2015, an intense bushfire ripped through nearly 100,000 hectares of quokka habitat near Northcliffe. Prior to the fire, this bushland was home to more than 500 quokkas. Yet today, only 39 can be accounted for.
The radio collars will be used to track the locations of 30 of the surviving quokkas, providing vital information on their movements.
WWF today announced that efforts to save the quokkas would now be fast-tracked and called for donations to also fund 30 sensor cameras to monitor the marsupials and keep an eye on feral predators.
“The Margaret River Chocolate Company’s generous donation means the WWF team will be in the field within weeks tracking quokkas,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said.
“This is a wonderful kickstarter for our quokka conservation work in south-west WA.
“All Australians now have the opportunity to also jump on board and help fund a network of motion activated sensor cameras. This will help us to keep tabs on our quokkas and pinpoint the movements of predators that will try and move back into the territory as the bush regenerates.”
Margaret River Chocolate Company spokesman Martin Black said his company felt a special affinity to WA’s south-west quokka population, so when they heard about these ‘friends in need’ they felt compelled to step up with critical funds.
“The roots of our business are in the south-west of WA and we were very much aware of the devastation caused by the Northcliffe fires, but were not fully aware of just how big the impact had been on the quokka population,” Mr Black said.
“When the report was released last week outlining the scale of numbers wiped out we started thinking about what we could do to help and then when WWF launched its campaign it was a perfect fit.”
WWF: Daniel Rockett, Senior Manager News and Public Affairs, 0432 206 592, email@example.com
The Margaret River Chocolate Company: Martin Black, 0407753043
Donate to Save Quokkas
To fund the purchase of sensor cameras WWF-Australia’s conservation team needs to protect the vulnerable quokkas of Northcliffe, an appeal has been set up. More information can be found here: wwf.org.au/savequokkas
WWF is Australia’s most trusted* conservation organisation and part of the world’s largest conservation network. WWF-Australia has been working to create a world where people live in harmony with nature since 1978 and has been active in working to protect the unique ecosystems and species of Western Australia for over 35 years. WWF-Australia was instrumental in establishing the first national threatened species legislation and national threatened species program.
*2015 Charities Reputation Index – AMR Research
About The Margaret River Chocolate Company’s quokka work:
Earlier this year The Margaret River Chocolate Company entered into an agreement with the Rottnest Foundation to provide part proceeds from the sale of a new chocolate quokka product to help the endangered species. The collaboration was to be launched next month, but The Margaret River Chocolate Company has now responded to an even more urgent call for help from the WWF. Chokka the Quokka is available at The Margaret River Chocolate Company’s three outlets in Margaret River, the Swan Valley and Perth City.
The quokka (Setonix brachyurus) is a marsupial and one of Australia’s smallest wallabies. Listed as vulnerable under the EPBC 1999 and the IUCN Red List, the quokka, which was once broadly distributed across the south west of Western Australia is now only found in isolated pockets in the southern forests and two island communities, including a robust and world-famous colony on Rottnest Island. The main threats to quokkas are loss of habitat and introduced predators such as foxes, cats and feral pigs.