People caught harming quokkas will face hefty fines after the State Government placed the animal on Western Australia's latest list of threatened and specially protected fauna.
Environment Minister and Attorney General Peter Foss today said quokkas were now listed as `threatened' under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
This effectively more than doubled the fine from $4,000 to $10,000 for people convicted of harming the animals.
"Although quokkas abound on Rottnest Island, there has been a marked decline in the number of existing populations on the mainland," Mr Foss said.
"Surveys by the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) of quokka habitat around Dwellingup have shown the species has declined from occupying 15 swamps to only three since 1970.
"CALM surveys also show the species has reduced in numbers in the Manjimup area.
"The good news is the quokka is one species that will benefit from CALM's Western Shield project, which will greatly expand the area of the conservation estate on which foxes and feral cats are controlled."
Mr Foss announced the new penalties today when he released the latest threatened and specially protected fauna list.
The new list included one species - the Gilbert's potoroo - that had been presumed extinct for 125 years while the woylie had been removed as it was no longer considered at risk of extinction.
The latest list includes 160 native animals that are now specially protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
These includes 106 animals considered threatened with extinction, 13 presumed extinct and 41 listed as specially protected because of international agreements or because they are at risk of illegal taking.
The Gilbert's Potoroo has been transferred from the presumed extinct list to the threatened schedule.
The species was rediscovered at Two People's Bay in December, 1994.
The woylie was removed from the list and classed as `conservation dependent' under World Conservation Union criteria. This recognised that ongoing management such as predator control was needed to prevent the species again becoming threatened.
The new list is scheduled to be gazetted this week.
Media contact: Peter Harris (09) 321 2222 or (09) 222 9595 or Gordon Wyre, CALM (09) 334 0420