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Make Way For the Easter Bilby! (Video)

Make Way For the Easter Bilby! (Video)

A campaign is underway in Australia to replace the Easter bunny with the Easter bilby, a long-nosed, long-eared native species whose survival is endangered by … rabbits. Introduced by early English settlers in 1859 for hunting, an initial 24 wild European rabbits released into the wild had produced 10 billion rabbits by the 1920s. Today, only about 600 bilbies remain in the wild, due to competition from those billion-plus rabbits for food and shelter.

This video shows two baby bilbies who were born at the Adelaide Zoo in November of 2008.

The Foundation for a Rabbit-Free Australia says, point blank, that “rabbits do not belong in Australia.” Young children have been  ”indoctrinated with the concept that bunnies are nice soft fluffy creatures” when, in reality, rabbits are “Australia’s greatest environmental feral pest and cause enormous damage to the arid zone.”

Rabbits clearly pose a serious threat to Australia’s wildlife and have been classified as an invasive species by the Australian government. Rabbits, feral cats and foxes are probably all the reason for the disappearance of more native mammals in Australia than in any other nation. The clearing of land and development have also contributed to 17 bird species, 13 mammal species, 4 reptile species, 1 fish species and 1 insect species being considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered now in Australia.

Reuters reports that efforts to replace the Easter bunny with the native bilby seem to be working. Stores are selling Easter bilbies and Darrell Lea, the largest Australian-owned manufacturer, has “questioned why anybody would want to buy an Easter Bunny when they could have an Easter Bilby instead.”

Indeed, the bilby, being (like the kangaroo) a marsupial with a front pouch to carry its young, is arguably a better candidate for the job of egg-delivering than the Easter bunny, as the Toronto Sun observes.

As Mike Drinkwater, who cares for bilbies in a wildlife park in Sydney, says, the bilby has “lovely, endearing rabbit-like qualities” and, even more, is a “beautiful, iconic native animal that is struggling.” So if you are some Easter (rabbit-shaped) chocolate, think of the bilby. With only 600 left in the wild, they need a lot of support to survive against so many, many rabbits.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Happy Easter! 4 Traditional Ways To Celebrate!

Not In My Easter Basket: Dyeing Chicks Should Be Banned

Aggressive Parents Force Egg Hunt Cancellation

 

 

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Photo by Derrick Coetzee

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116 comments

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9:43PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

Ah, cute bilby.

4:57PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

thanks

8:27AM PDT on Apr 26, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

12:48AM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Bilbys are so cute rabbits are cute too,even though its not their fault Foxes Rabbits were introduced to australia for people to hunt, every introduced species to the wrong country only asks for trouble!

8:55PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

colleen, lay off the animals, as a member of the depraved human so called "species" you're not qualifiied to comment on more evolved wildlife of earth. Go rag on your 7 billion humans and leave the animals alone.

11:10AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

What irritates me about all of this is that humans are the ones responsible for playing god and introducing these species in unnatural settings. Then we get disgusted with them and want them gone.........hunted, poisoned, trapped and inhumanely disposed of. Perhaps we should think of this BEFORE we go around and screw with Mother Nature.

We have species in our local metroparks that are being hunted and poisoned because they are invasive species. I understand that they were not naturally occuring in our area but these species did not ask to be relocated/introduced and all they are trying to do is survive, raise their families and acclimate to unnatural surroundings.

My point is that humans are responsible for them being here and humans should be equally as responsible for the HUMANE dealing with these creatures. And it would help if humans would stop trying to play God.

6:16AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Barbara U. Said it best.

5:36AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

More examples of how human activity (introducing invasive species) causes the decimination of wildlife. It's a no win for the rabbits, foxes, cane toads that are just doing what they do naturally, disrupting the balance of nature in their non-native environment. So we not only decimate the Bilby by our activity as well as other creatures that are forced to compete with invasive species, we also cause the suffering and death of the species that was introduced, by no fault of it's own.

Don't know what promoting the "Easter Bilby" will do for it's future survival, but at least it raises awareness for those who bother to pay attention. Sad how fast our actions can cause the extinction of so many species that have lived in harmony for thousands of years. Clearly we are the invasive species that needs to be stopped.

11:39PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

I think they've been selling them for a while now!

6:08PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Cute little guys...hope they don't go extinct like the Tasmanian tiger.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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