News Round-Up

Where are the quokkas? New study explains what happened to the “happiest animal in the world”


Australia, recently devastated by severe wildfires, is no stranger to the consequences of climate change, habitat destruction and invasive species.

The quokka, a small marsupial native to Australia, is one such example of a species vulnerable to extinction in the country’s harsh surroundings. Known as the “happiest animal in the world” due to its cute and friendly appearance, these creatures are now only found in a few isolated forests and small islands.

In a new study, published this month in the Journal of Zoology, researchers at Vanderbilt University demonstrate evidence that invasive species, most notably foxes, were likely responsible for the dramatic decline of quokkas over the past century. MORE

Header image: Quokka on a table. Credit: Larisa DeSantis, Vanderbilt University.

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