By Melissa Sheil
MOVE over Easter bunny, there’s a new fluffy friend in town delivering your chocolate eggs with an Australian twist.
The Easter bilby will be visiting Lesmurdie native animal not-for-profit Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre this weekend on April 3 and 4, for their 9th annual Easter Bilby Fun Night.
Guests get the opportunity to learn about the native Greater Bilby and celebrate the Easter weekend with a quiz, an Easter egg hunt and meet some of the resident bilbies living at the Centre’s bilby breeding facility.
Kanyana Education coordinator Christine Todd says it is important to learn about the Easter bilby rather than the Easter bunny.
“The Easter bunny has been part of festivities for a long time, but little is known about the Easter bilby, a nocturnal animal native to Australia,” she said.
“European rabbits were introduced into Australia in 1859 so they could be hunted and from the original 13 introduced wild rabbits, it took about 50 years for rabbits to spread across Australia.
“Since then, they have been an invasive species and contribute to the decline of native plant and animal species.
“For the Bilby this has meant competition for burrows and food and through habitat destruction and other introduced species, like the feral cat and the fox, have meant that the Bilby is now endangered.”
Kanyana’s Bilby Breeding program has been running since the 1990’s and is helping repopulate the vulnerable species through captive, selective breeding.
Though Kanyana now have too many bilbies to count, some residents like Binang the Bilby have hopped into the Easter celebrations for several years and are looking forward to delivering eggs again this year.
Kanyana is a not-for-profit organisation and the support given by booking tours and attending events goes to supporting the ongoing work of volunteers providing food, medicine, equipment, hotboxes and enclosures for native Australian animals.