Christchurch man arrested in Australia after allegedly tossing quokka off a jetty
Australian police have charged a 37-year-old New Zealand man over an incident in which he's alleged to have thrown a quokka into the water from a jetty at Rottnest Island, off the coast of Western Australia, on Friday night.
Police say the quokka was able to swim to shore after the alleged incident, which happened around 10pm near the Rottnest Hotel.
The man, from Christchurch, has been charged with animal cruelty and will appear before the Perth Magistrates Court on Saturday.
The maximum penalty for animal cruelty is a A$50,000 (NZ$54,914) fine and five years in jail.
Rottnest Island, situated about 30km west of Perth, is home to about 10,000 quokkas, according to the Rottnest Island Authority website.
The charge comes after a Perth man who filmed his friend kicking a quokka at Rottnest Island in February was fined A$3000 earlier this week after pleading guilty to ill-treating the animal.
Corey Douglas James, 21, was sentenced in Fremantle Magistrates Court on Monday after admitting to the charge of being cruel to an animal by torturing, mutilating, beating, wounding, tormenting or otherwise ill-treating.
Co-accused, Harrison Angus McPherson, had his matter adjourned for further legal advice.
The 20-year-old was allegedly caught on camera chasing a quokka around a tree and kicking it at least twice. The video was uploaded to Snapchat.
The man in the video can be heard saying, "come here, you little c...' before sending the small animal into the wall.
It tries to run away from the man before the video ends after nine seconds.
Another man can be heard laughing in the background as the incident is being filmed.
The incident occurred on February 12, the same day a music festival was hosted on the popular tourist island.
The quokka was not found and it is unclear whether it was injured.
In 2015, two French tourists who burnt a Rottnest quokka chose to stay in jail rather than pay a A$4000 fine - costing Australian taxpayers thousands of dollars.
That incident was also filmed.
The same year, a teenager who kicked a Rottnest Island quokka two metres into the air avoided jail and walked away from Fremantle Magistrates Court with a A$2500 fine.
And last year, another man was also filmed giving vodka to a quokka. Authorities said it could have killed the animal.
* Update: Bevin Denis Hames subsequently pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, though he said he placed the quokka in the water rather than throwing it.