When a cute little quokka asks for snuggle, who could possibly say no?
Campbell Jones was out for a bike ride with his girlfriend in Rottnest, Australia, last month when they happened upon one of those friendly creatures strolling on the roadside. Naturally, Jones decided to stop for a moment to snap a few photos with his GoPro camera – but, as it turns out, the quokka had more in mind.
“As I walked back to my bike, the quokka chased after me,” Jones told the West Australian.”I put down the GoPro and it jumped at me as if to say, ‘Come back.'”
Apparently, it was love at first sight.
While Jones’s up-close encounter is certainly a memorable one, it’s actually not so surprising. Quokkas are inquisitive creatures who have few natural predators, and thus they seem to have little fear of humans and are even known to approach people out of curiosity.
That fact, along with their natural smiley appearance, has made them darlings of social media in recent years – giving rise to the popular hashtag #quokkaselfie online. (Don’t try to handle any wild animals. Your quokka pics will be much better without you in them.)
Despite their growing status as Australian icons, quokkas aren’t without persisting threats. The species is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources due to habitat loss and the introduction of nonnative predators.
With any luck, encounters like Jones’s will further prove that these little animals are very much worth saving.