QUOKKAS don’t mind fireworks says the Rottnest Island Authority, which has brushed off suggestions from animal rights group PETA that it choose a quieter alternative for New Years Eve.
Last week People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote to the RIA suggesting it use “silent fireworks” to provide a more stress-free night for the island’s human and animal inhabitants.
“Richer in colour effects and visual choreography than conventional displays, silent fireworks offer a peaceful celebration for noise-sensitive children, elderly people, and individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – who are sensitive to and can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosive – and they don’t put viewers at risk of sustaining hearing loss,” wrote PETA’s outreach and partnership liaison officer Emily Rice.
Somewhat oddly, Ms Rice also alerted the RIA to the problem of deer being frightened by fireworks and running onto roads.
Some European cities have adopted silent fireworks, which aren’t entirely noise-free but use effects such as roman candles and sparklers to focus on colour and fizzling out rather than the big bangs of traditional displays.
But a spokesperson from the authority said PETA was barking up the wrong tree by bringing up problems with deer and dogs.
“Rottnest Island Authority is an A-Class reserve and as a result we don’t allow any non-native animals onto the island; contrary to the PETA statement, dogs (with the exception of assistance animals) and deer are not allowed on the island,” the spokesperson said.
“Since the first fireworks in 2015 quokka behaviour has been monitored.
“Quokkas continue to feed and display normal behaviours during these events.”
Rotto’s fireworks display is held over Thomson Bay, with the rockets set off from a barge positioned 500 metre offshore.
This year there’s free entertainment and kids’ activities from 4pm and the explosive display kicking off at 9pm. There’s also a big concert planned for the Hotel Rottnest, with a line-up including The Happy Buddhas, Ben Sebastian and the Darren Gibbs Duo & Team Halo partying until 12.30am. Our Rotto source reckons that might prove to be a tad louder than the fireworks display.