by Nels Hanson
Do you know the Quokka, sole member
of the genus Setonix, the small macropod
the size of a tabby, like the kangaroo and
wallaby herbivorous and for the most part
nocturnal? They live on little islands off
Australia, on Rottnest and Bald free of cats
and foxes, and in scattered populations
between Perth and Albany, one group in
Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, protected
with the Gilbertís potoroo thatís almost
extinct. Stocky build, round ears, broad
head, Quokkas resemble tiny kangaroos
but climb short trees and shrubs. Coarse
fur is brown, shading to buff underneath.
Quokkas mate constantly, even one day
after giving birth, though females deliver
just twice a year, each time a single baby
called a joey. Quokkas need much water,
in dry areas obtain enough moisture from
favorite plants. A brushfire by Northcliffe
killed nearly all of the 500 Quokka colony.
Wild Quokkas are unafraid, approach us
eagerly but we canít touch or feed them ó
they starve, die of thirst from human food.
Copyright © 2018 by Nels Hanson.