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Happiest people say the quokka should be official state emblem for WA

posted 26 May 2019, 17:58 by Happi Mess   [ updated 29 May 2019, 05:06 ]


Roger Federer’s Instagram shot with a quokka was seen by half a billion people worldwide.Picture: Instagram / roger federer


Marketing and tourism experts say it's a "no brainer" to use the world's happiest animal as the WA state emblem.

West Australians should move quickly to make the quokka the official State emblem.

Marketing and tourism experts say it’s a “no-brainer” to promote the furry mascot of Rotto to represent the State in an official capacity because the creature is one of our greatest assets.

“It’s a no-brainer and has been spoken about in many circles for some time now,” Marketforce chief Adam Marshall said.

“We don’t have an Opera House, we don’t have a Harbour Bridge, we don’t have an Uluru, so in the absence of that how do we create something that people immediately connect to?

“The quokka has loads of great attributes. It’s a very endearing animal and people like taking their pictures with it, especially celebrities, so there’s lots of positives there.”

What would it mean for the Numbat?

The successful advertising executive said it wouldn’t be the only solution to improve WA’s tourism industry, but signing up the humble, happy and photogenic marsupial would be a good first step.

“The quokka is something that has enormous appeal to the target markets we’re trying to encourage to visit,” Mr Marshall said. “It’s clearly one of our greatest assets and we should recruit our furry friend and get them taking selfies with all the global celebrities that pass through the joint.”

Since 2015 quokkas and their #selfies have been responsible for generating billions of likes on social media. The images have broadcast Western Australia to the world, especially to the lucrative Asian markets and the hard-to-crack US audience.

Quokkas were the star attraction of an aggressive tourism campaign in 2016, which led to a 30 per cent increase in visitors to Rottnest Island.

And what about the iconic black swan.

International celebrities, some paid and some out of curiosity, have posed for quokka selfies during visits to WA. Roger Federer’s first picture reached more than 581 million people in 45 countries in two weeks and went on to appear in hundreds of publications around the world.

Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman have also posed with the fluffy animals and posted the results online for their millions of fans.

Tourism WA board member Linda Wayman said the quokka should have its status elevated from “endangered” to “emblem” as soon as possible.

“The quokka has become iconic,” Ms Wayman said.

“Certainly WA seems to be experiencing a quokka-led tourism recovery, so perhaps we should be maximising our unique little animal’s international celebrity status before it gets an agent and we can no longer afford its appearance or influencer fees.”

Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall agreed.

“I think most people would struggle to recall what our State emblems are but those classic Instagram moments with the quokkas that go viral and broadcast WA to the entire world are fantastic and if we can encourage more of it WA will be better off,” Mr Hall said.

Margot Robbie also jumped on the quokka selfie bandwagon during her time in WA.Picture: Instagram / margotrobbie

“Kangaroos and koalas are everywhere but quokkas are exclusive to us, that is what makes them special and what’s makes the State a special place to visit. They are awesome.”

The black swan and numbat are WA’s official animal mascots. The black swan, which is on our State badge, was appointed in 1875. It first adorned our coat of arms after it was signed off by the Queen in 1969.

The numbat — the shy forest- dwelling animal that eats termites — was named our State animal emblem in 1973. The most recent official addition to our special animal kingdom was the whale shark in 2013.

The Opposition are on board and would like to have the quokka join the State’s furry PR posse.

.... As did Marvel star Chris Hemsworth.Picture: Instagram / chrishemsworth

“I personally think the numbat could go toe-to-toe with the quokka in the cuteness stakes any day,” shadow tourism minister Libby Mettam said.

“It’s widely accepted that the naming of the numbat as WA’s animal emblem in 1973 kickstarted the conservation effort that has bought it back from near-extinction.

“It does, however, remain an endangered species and as such is still a much-loved State emblem. Let’s not drop the little guy just because he’s not the flavour of the moment.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia was reluctant to rubber stamp the quokka’s approval as he also moonlights as the No.1 ticket holder of the numbat fan club.

“The numbat, for my whole life, has been my favourite animal,” Mr Papalia said. “I absolutely love them and think they are very special and an important part of WA’s tapestry. It’s also such a great word to use as a non-offensive insult.”

Premier Mark McGowan is a quokka fan and wants more people to meet them.

“It’s true WA’s quokkas have taken the world by storm and they are an integral part of our campaigns to sell our State to the rest of the world,” Mr McGowan said.


On Rottnest Island, off the coast of western Australia, a peculiar marsupial has captivated the hearts of Instagram users worldwide—and supported a booming tourism economy. The quokka, a close cousin of the kangaroo, rocketed to internet fame when tourists began taking selfies with the animal, which is unafraid of humans and appears to smile for pictures.

“They are like living teddy bears,” filmmaker David Freid, who made a short documentary about the mammals and the attendant social-media sensation, told The Atlantic. “When you see one, it's a bonafide heart-melter.”

Freid said he had made enough films about “important” subjects and needed a reprieve from working with heavy material. “As a fan of absurdity, and the lengths to which us humans will go to achieve it, this seemed like as good a topic as any for a film,” he said. “And, I think, if a quokkumentary were to be made, we were the team to do it.

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