French tourists fined for burning Australian quokka

French tourists fined for burning Australian quokka

SYDNEY - An Australian court fined two French tourists Aus$4000 (US$3,100) each on Friday for animal cruelty after they burnt a quokka, a small native marsupial, on an island off the west coast.

The men - Thibaud Jean Leon Vallet, 24, and Jean Mickael Batrikian, 18 - pleaded guilty to causing an animal unnecessary harm, a spokeswoman for Fremantle Magistrates Court in the south-western city of Perth told AFP.

The pair will be held behind bars for seven days if they fail to pay the fine, the spokeswoman added.

Western Australia police alleged on Sunday that the men, had "ignited an aerosol spray using a lighter, causing a large flame to make contact with a quokka" while they were on Rottnest Island, singeing the creature.

Police added that they had obtained a video of the incident which occurred on April 3.

The quokka, classed by the government as "vulnerable", is a small wallaby and resembles a diminutive version of the kangaroo with thick, rough, grey-brown fur.

It is found only in the south-west of Western Australia state and on the offshore islands of Rottnest and Bald.

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