Friday, April 17, 2015

Two Tourists Have Been Fined For Burning A Quokka In Western Australia

I mean, who burns a quokka? WARNING: some readers may find a clip in this post disturbing.

A spokeswoman for Fremantle Magistrates Court told AFP that Thibaud Jean Leon Vallet, 24, and Jean Mickael Batrikian, 18, had pleaded guilty to causing the endangered marsupial unnecessary harm.

The spokeswoman added that the duo would remain in custody for seven days if they failed to pay the fine.

This clip, via ABC, shows one of the pair igniting an aerosol spray can and singeing the tiny marsupial's fur, while the other recorded it. WARNING: some viewers may find the clip disturbing.

The incident took place on April 3 on Rottnest Island, an island off Western Australia which is almost the only the place quokkas can be found. The cat-sized creatures — famous for their smiling faces — are protected under state and federal legislation.

ABC reported that the pair's lawyer told the court they did not intend the animal any harm, and feared for their safety after receiving online abuse.

However, Magistrate Elizabeth Langdon said this was "fanciful," and that the fine was necessary to act as a deterrent.

According to WA Today, Langdon said: "The first word that springs to mind to describe your behaviour is abhorrent."

Addressing Vallet — a journalism major — she said: "It is perplexing as a journalist that you would make the decision to film such a cruel act."

"One can only imagine the impact caused to the quokka. Obviously it would have been fearful as a result of what occurred," she added.

Speaking to Fairfax Media outside the court, Vallet said: "You think we're monsters. We didn't hurt the quokka. We have pets at home."

In February, five quokkas were found dead on Rottnest, with their heads stuffed in plant protectors, ABC reported.

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