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Selfies with quokkas: the innovative way to save the planet’s most smiling species

Selfies with the most smiling species on the planet are helping more and more people join in to save quokkas.

Australia is the most extravagant natural paradise that can exist. Thanks to the geographical characteristics that allowed the evolution of life in isolation from the rest of the world, it has the strangest biodiversity of the entire planet. There lives the most smiling creature of all with which, in fact, you can take selfies but with one condition: it is forbidden to touch the adorable quokkas.

More than 12 thousand marsupials roam freely on Rottnest Island, which is already striking from its name, the name of the island means “rat’s nest,” and it is so called for a reason. It is inhabited by quokkas, a species of marsupial that at first glance might look like a rodent the size of a dog, although it has a characteristic that has made it famous, its huge smile.

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The quokka’s mouth naturally curves in such a way that from the human perspective, it appears to be smiling. Interestingly, this feature has been used by what is now a quokka sanctuary to save the species.

At Rottnest Island, you are allowed to get up close to the quokkas, who are extremely curious creatures and will therefore look directly at the camera with their huge grin. But there is one golden rule: Do not touch them.

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Selfies with quokkas have exploded on social media. The likes of Chris Hemsworth have visited Rottnest Island to snap a selfie with the smiliest species on the planet. The actor shared on his Instagram account his snapshot and said: “Epic little critters are all over the island just going about their day doing their thing, go there and check it out!”

This has lured countless tourists to go to the island to meet the quokkas, so the selfies are becoming more and more numerous. However, visitors must respect the rules and are forbidden to touch the marsupials, no matter how cuddly they may seem, as well as refrain from feeding them.

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Strangely, the selfies are helping more and more people learn about Rottnest Island’s cause, which is to save the quokkas. It has served as a method of spreading valuable information about the marsupials, and thanks to the popularity of the photos, more people now know about the existence of the smiling creatures and the challenges they face to survive.

Smiling Marsupials

Although quokkas may look like rodents, they are actually closer to kangaroos, as they belong to the same family as Macropodiae. Their body is robust, hence they are huggable to the eye, although we must remember that they are wild animals and we should not invade their space. They are herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. They measure an average of 45 centimeters long and weigh up to 5 kilograms.

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They are very curious animals, which is why selfies with quokkas are allowed on Rottnest Island, as long as they are not touched or fed. With their rounded ears and their superb smiles, they win everyone’s hearts.

Unfortunately, they are in a vulnerable state, due to the destruction of their habitat, so in a sense, the selfies are helping to make more people aware of the quokkas’ needs. And maybe in the future, we will be able to say that selfies saved the cute marsupials.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera

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