Whilst the rest of the world celebrates Easter by eating too many chocolate bunnies, Australians have the option of eating bunny or bilby – our indigenous, cute, furry, burrowing, nocturnal marsupial.
The bilby is a bandicoot with pale grey fur, a long black tail with a white tip, a pointed nose and huge ears. Like kangaroos and koalas, the female has a pouch and can produce several litters of up to three baby bilbies each year.
Unfortunately, the bilby, although native to Australia, has not been as successful in reproducing itself as the introduced rabbit. Once widely distributed over 70% of the mainland, they are now found only in isolated colonies in parts of South West Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
They are classed as “vulnerable” in WA and the NT and “endangered” in Queensland due to loss of habitat, predation from introduced species like foxes and cats and competition for food from cattle, sheep and those damned feral bunnies!
One success story for the poor bilby is the bilby sanctuary in the Currawinya National Park near Charleville in South-Western Queensland. The sanctuary is contained within a 25 square kilometre electrified, predator-proof fence – built from funds raised by passionate conservationists Frank Manthey and Peter McRae.
Funds raised from the sale of Darrell Lea chocolate bilbies each Easter help support the work of the sanctuary through the Save the Bilby Fund.
Check out: www.easterbilby.com.au