Tourists who tried to burn quokka fined $4k each for animal cruelty
Two French tourists were fined AUD$4,000 (S$4,200) each after pleading guilty to animal cruelty in an Australian court.
ABC news reported that Thibaud Valette, 24, and Jean Batrikian, 18, were charged over the incident which was captured on video on Rottnest Island, off Perth, on April 3.
A lawyer acting for the pair told the court that they did not mean to hurt the quokka and that they now feared for their safety after being abused online.
The magistrate said that their claims were "fanciful" and that the fine will act as a deterrent.
The maximum cruelty for animal cruelty in Australia is AUD$50,000 and five years jail.
A video of the pair burning the quokka has emerged.
One of the men ignited an aerosol spray with a lighter while the other recorded the act on his mobile phone.
The quokka ran to safety before it was burnt.
The quokka are the smallest wallaby species in Australia.
Once plentiful, their numbers on the mainland have been drastically affected due to the introduction of predators and human activity in Australia.
Now it is almost exclusively found on Rottnest Island, some 30km off the Perth coast. Rottnest is a haven for the creatures because of the lack of predators.
We have included the video below.
Some might find the video disturbing.
Source: ABC News, YouTube, Australian museum, Rottnest Island
Related report: Tourists kicked off island after allegedly trying to burn quokka