Why You Should Celebrate Bilbies (Not Bunnies) This Easter
Aussies are always insisting on doing things a little differently – and the same goes for those age-old traditions. Instead of celebrating a certain well-known holiday bunny, an Easter in the land down under shines a light on a rather unsuspecting long-eared and pointy-nosed creature: the Greater Bilby.
The bilby is important to Australians for many reasons, but they’ve also become a symbol of hope for our native wildlife by raising awareness about their plight. These shy, nocturnal animals prefer to spend their nights digging burrows to help them scurry away from predators – and still, they’re always on the lookout for tasty treats, like plant bulbs, seeds or insects. We at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary are adopting the bilby as our Easter mascot, and we’re hoping to spark a nationwide conversation about conserving the country’s vulnerable native species.
How the Easter Bilby was born
“...to draw the nation’s attention to conservation efforts…”
The campaign began in 1991 with a concerted push to replace the adorable, yet introduced species with a certain native marsupial bearing a close resemblance, namely, the Easter Bilby.
What followed was The Bilbies’ First Easter in 1994, a story written by Australian children's book author and illustrator Irena Sibley to draw the nation’s attention to conservation efforts, attract research funding, and to offer an alternative to chocolate Easter bunnies.1
There’s a lot to love about eating copious amounts of chocolate in the shape of our unique Aussie mates. What’s more is that many of these sweet alternatives will directly support critical bilby conservation and research programs with every purchase – so please, choose chocolate with a conscience this Easter.
Pink Lady Chocolates is a proud sponsor of the Save the Bilby Fund, and for each Chocolate Bilby sold, 30 cents will be donated to the charity. These Easter goodies can be purchased at Target, Myer, David Jones and Australia Post corporate stores – just look out for the green swing tag.
Our Easter mascot is facing extinction
“...it’s so important to value and protect our biodiversity for future generations.”
Although the Easter bunny has long held down the job of delivering all the world’s chocolate – in Australia, these rabbits (albeit very cute) aren’t a part of our native ecosystems. Sadly, the emergence of introduced cohabitants continues to threaten the survival of our native animals (including our Aussie mate the bilby) by altering their habitat, consuming native food sources, displacing small animals from burrows, and attracting introduced predators like foxes.
The Greater Bilby comes from a family of marsupials known as bandicoots – but their timid nature has deemed them easy targets for feral predators that are placing them under severe threat.2 It’s clear that Australia is home to some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna, and it’s important for us all to value and protect our biodiversity for future generations.
Adopt a Greater Bilby this Easter
“...support vital breeding and education programs for the country’s most endangered native wildlife, including Greater Bilbies.”
Help Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary secure the long-term conservation of Greater Bilbies by offering a year’s worth of love to a Greater Bilby for a $50 donation that’s tax deductible. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary's 'Adopt an Animal' program is an initiative designed to support vital breeding and education programs for the country’s most endangered native wildlife, including Greater Bilbies.
By doing so, you’ll become the proud foster parent of a Greater Bilby, and your donation will go towards assisting the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s ongoing conservation, breeding programs, public education and emergency care.
So please choose kindly over the Easter break, eat plenty of chocolate in the shape of a bilby, visit the Sanctuary residents, and open your heart to our furry friends in need.
1. Smith, N., 2006. Thank your mother for the rabbits: bilbies, bunnies and redemptive ecology. Australian zoologist, 33(3), pp.369-378.
2. Moritz, C., Heideman, A., Geffen, E. and McRae, P., 1997. Genetic population structure of the greater bilby Macrotis lagotis, a marsupial in decline. Molecular Ecology, 6(10), pp.925-936.