Jarrahdale’s secret wildlife

Jarrahdale’s secret wildlife

175
Mainland quokkas have been spotted in Jarrahdale. Photograph – Richard Polden.

Meet Happy.

Happy is a mainland quokka who lives with a handful of his furry friends in Jarrahdale.

Armadale resident Robert, who did not want his surname published, stumbled upon Happy a few months ago when he was revegetating the native landscapes in the local region.

“I was carting water from the creek when I heard something rustling among the blackberry bushes and ferns nearby,” he said.

“I thought they were bandicoots at first so I put some bread out overnight under the blackberry bushes so that the larger fauna couldn’t get to it.

“When I returned the next morning everything was gone.”

The elderly Armadale resident now has 10 feeding stations set up for the quokkas and returns to the site every morning to replenish the stocks.

Friend and local cook at a Byford bakery Sharon Sparkes has since taken on the afternoon shift to help Robert out.

Ms Sparkes said she had been taking photographs of the six little creatures for the past three months and showing them to the local community who were in utter disbelief of their existence in Jarrahdale.

“I have taken my photographs to Cohunu Koala Park to ask how we can help them but they don’t know,” she said.

“I have also asked a number of wildlife officials but continually get bumped on to the next person as they say it is not their responsibility.”

Ms Sparkes said the future for the vulnerable mainland quokkas did not look bright as the area was marked for development, which would further impact their environment.

“I have thought about going to the local schools to get them involved and to build their knowledge about the quokkas but some people may not be fine with that,” she said.

“It all comes down to political correctness today and I don’t know what is going to happen to them in the future.”

Both Robert and Ms Sparkes are also concerned about recent hooning by four-wheel-drive vehicles and motorbikes that have caused further destruction of the quokkas’ home.

Shire President Michelle Rich said the shire worked closely with the government agencies such as the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to ensure fences and gates were maintained, however the shire had no jurisdiction over the area.

“We would encourage anyone who may see a quokka to respect its space and recognise the potential impact that some activities might have on their habitat,” she said.

A DBCA spokesperson encouraged those that do see the quokkas not to feed them as it can upset their natural diet, leading to health problems and the spread of disease.

“Providing a regular artificial food source can lead to too many animals living in the area, putting extra pressure on natural food sources,” they said.

“It can also increase the risk of predation by feral foxes and cats.”

Mainland quokkas have been spotted in Jarrahdale. Photograph – Richard Polden.