# The Easter Bilby

By Murray Bourne, 11 Dec 2004

Since Europeans arrived in Australia, they have done a lousy job of protecting the environment. Land and water degradation - due to farming of marginal land - are only some of the woes. The introduction of successful predators like the domestic cat to the ecosystem has meant the rapid decline of many small native animals.

The native bilby, a marsupial, has been disappearing alarmingly in recent decades. A creative project at Currawinya National Park in Queensland aims to protect the bilby from extinction. They built a fence around a 25 km2 area and this will prevent dingos, cats and other predators (and the main competitor for food - the rabbit) from entering the area.

To raise money for the project, park rangers hit on the idea of replacing the Easter rabbit with the Easter bilby. Confectionary maker Darrel Lea agreed (hey, it seemed like a good way to make more money, have a warm and fuzzy feeling - with tax breaks to boot) and began marketing Easter bilby chocolates.

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