If it wasn’t for Karl Brady’s eagle eyes, this quokka may have been more than just listed as Vulnerable, as determined by its current International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status.
The landfill compactor operator spied the marsupial’s familiar silhouette, made famous by the Rottnest Island selfie craze, as it was tipped onto a rubbish pile at Henderson Waste Recovery Park in the City of Cockburn around midday today.
Henderson Waste Recovery Park Coordinator Mike Haynes said the lucky quokka had Karl's quick thinking to thank for saving its life.
“Karl’s compactor exerts 35 tonnes of pressure on each spiky wheel and if it wasn’t for him, that quokka may no longer be with us,” Mr Haynes said.
The vigilant driver jumped out of his cab and scooped the marsupial into his arms before securing it safely in a cat cage.
Mr Haynes contacted Wildcare which arranged to transfer the animal to a Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions regional wildlife officer who has since deemed the animal fit and well, and put it on a ranger boat for the 30-minute ride back to its island home.
Mr Haynes said the quokka arrived at Henderson this morning in a Perth Bin Hire bin after an ocean ride to the mainland on a barge, before being lifted on to the back of a truck for the road journey to Henderson.
“The bin would have had a lot of Rotto leftovers and food scraps in it so the quokka wouldn’t have gone hungry on its travels.”
Calling it a Christmas miracle, Mr Haynes said he thought he’d seen everything in his 10 years at the waste park.
“We were so happy Karl was able to save the quokka, so we nicknamed it Karl in his honour.”