Posted on 06th September 2019 by Media Relations
September 8 is National Bilby Day, a day to recognise a vitally important Australian species, the Greater Bilby. This little marsupial used to be commonly found in the deserts of NSW, but, due to predation by introduced species like cats and foxes, and also habitat degradation, Bilbies have been extinct in NSW for more than 100 years.
The loss of this species from our deserts has been a huge blow. Bilbies are what we call ‘ecosystem engineers’ because they play a significant role. A prolific burrower, the Bilby spends much of its time digging burrows for shelter, insects, seeds and plant roots, which helps nutrients infiltrate the soil.
The loss of mammals like Bilbies from our deserts has had a flow-on effect, leading to a reduction in soil quality, the loss of further species and, ultimately, a much less healthy environment.
Here at Taronga, we refuse to accept the loss of such important wildlife from our unique desert ecosystems. So together with our partners in the Wild Deserts project, Taronga is bringing Bilbies back to NSW.
In 2016, we named the Bilby as one of our Legacy Species, a commitment that for the next 10 years we will invest our time, expertise and funding into the revival of this animal.
As part of this commitment, we’ve prepared a 110-hectare conservation breeding Sanctuary at our Taronga Western Plains Zoo site. Soon we will be releasing five male and five female Bilbies into this protected area, where they will have the freedom to flourish. The future offspring from these animals will later be released into Sturt National Park in NSW to establish wild Bilby populations.
As experts in breeding and caring for endangered species, Taronga has the right people, experience and facilities to bring Bilbies back to NSW. We want you to join us on this important journey, find out how you can help.