Have you ever heard of quokkas? The quokka (pronounced as kwoh-ka) was found by Willem de Vlamingh on an island off the mouth of the Swan River in Western Australia.
The Dutch explorer described the furry animal as a kind of rat that is as big as a common cat and named the island Rottenest (rat nest) to honour his sighting. The island’s name is now changed to Rottnest Island.
Thanks to the quokkas’ adorable smiley face, they are now dubbed as “the happiest animal on earth” after going viral on the web for several times. Quokkas are vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction and threats from foxes, cats and wildfires.
Despite the vulnerable status, quokkas are mostly not afraid of humans. They rather approach humans or allow people to come close out of curiousity.
Their ‘friendliness’ has caused many tourists to take the chance of taking pictures with them, and there are more than 11,000 posts with the hashtag #quokkaselfie available on Instagram. Tourists are allowed to enjoy taking selfies with them, but touching or feeding them are considered illegal as they could harm the quokkas.
Let’s hope that these adorable quokkas will continue to smile happily and warm our hearts!
Well, if a quokka is “the happiest animal on earth”, which animal is “the saddest animal on earth”?
There are many species of animals that have been called “the saddest” especially those in captivity and tortured, but in 2014, a tragic polar bear named Arturo was officially agreed to be “the saddest animal in the world”. The lonely polar bear lived in Mendoza Zoo, Argentina, in a concrete enclosure in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Ever since his partner, Pelusa, died from cancer in 2012, Arturo has started to show signs of stress and depression. He aimlessly wandered back-and-forth in his enclosure, swinging his neck and showing his teeth.
He is often seen slumped, with his fur blackening. The only way for him to cool is a small pool that was only 50cm deep. His health deteriorated to the point that he lost a lot of weight and became blind in his right eye.
A petition was made on change.org to move Arturo to happier home in Assiniboine Park Zoo in cooler Winnipeg, Canada and thousands of people from all over the world had signed it.
Despite the petition and the reaction from people, the zoo directors rejected the suggestion to move Arturo, claiming that the polar bear was “too old” to make the journey safely.
Unfortunately, no actions were taken to ease Arturo’s suffering. The polar bear died in 2016, at the age of 30 years old.
- Aishah Humaira’ adalah pelajar Fakulti Filem, Teater dan Animasi.
- Dr. Mohd Syuhaidi Abu Bakar adalah Pensyarah Kanan, Fakulti Filem, Teater dan Animasi.