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According to Conservation International, just 17 countries are considered megadiverse. Each possesses a vast number of different species – many found nowhere else. Here, to celebrate World Animal Day , we highlight the 17 wildlife-rich nations – and suggest a beast to base a holiday around.
Australia is full of weird and wonderful animals (some 83 per cent of mammals, 89 per cent of reptiles, 24 per cent of fish and insects, and 93 per cent of amphibians that inhabit the continent are endemic), but few are as approachable – or as cute – as the quokka, which is roughly the size of a cat and has no fear of humans.
Quokkas can be seen in large numbers on Rottnest and on Bald Island near Albany, but on the mainland their numbers have been depleted by predators including foxes and cats. Note, however, that it is illegal to handle them on Rottnest Island – and there are heavy fines.