Taronga’s three young male bilbies, Dougall, Sparky and Yippee, got a special Easter treat of their favourite ‘chocolate’ …. mealworms and crickets!
Bilby Keeper Paul hid their food treats in colourful papier-mâché Easter eggs made by students from the Zoo’s ‘Boral Youth at the Zoo’ program. It didn’t take the youngsters long to realise that squirmy beetle larvae was hidden in their massive Easter eggs and start using their pointed noises and slender tongues to get the insect goodies in their desert-themed exhibit.
Bilbies have large rabbit-like ears that they use for warming up and cooling down in harsh desert extremes and it’s these ears that have also made them a popular alternative to the traditional Easter Bunny for Australians.
This desert-dwelling native was once found across 70% of the Australian mainland, but over the last 100 years the population has dramatically decreased, with less than 10,000 individuals now existing in small numbers in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Sadly, it’s the introduced rabbit that has casued their numbers to plummet as they compete with bilbies for food and burrows.
Click on the above image for the gallery
Most people don’t live any where near wild bilbies, but this Easter you can still do your bit to help this iconic Australian:
- Become a Zoo Parent by adopting a Taronga Bilby for someone and support Taronga’s conservation work;
- This Easter, choose chocolate bilbies rather than bunnies as some companies are donating money from Bilby Easter egg purchases; and
- When you give friends or family a chocolate bilby don’t forget to tell them about this endangered little Australian!
Unit Supervisor Australian Fauna Precinct