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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

11 September 2005

National day to celebrate Australia's bilby


The first annual National Bilby Day today (Sunday) will help raise awareness of the plight of one of Australia's most loved marsupials.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today urged all Australians to consider the future of Australia's wildlife on our inaugural National Bilby Day.

"Today is a good opportunity for all of us to celebrate the bilby and learn more about how we can protect this amazing little animal for future generations of Australians to enjoy," Senator Campbell said.

"While bilbies roamed over about 70 per cent of the Australian mainland before European settlement, they are now only found in small pockets in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia," Senator Ian Campbell said.

"The bilby's decline is due to the loss of habitat as a result of land use change and threats posed by introduced species such as foxes and feral cats.

"The Australian Government is supporting efforts to protect remaining bilbies by managing habitat, establishing captive breeding programmes, and monitoring and re-establishing bilby populations.

"Over $300,000 from the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust has been provided for bilby protection programmes including $50,000 for the 'Save the Bilby' project which fenced around 25,000 hectares in Queensland to protect local bilbies from predators such as foxes," he said.

Australians may be familiar with the small marsupial from its appearance at Easter time. The bilby's big ears - similar to those of a rabbit - have in recent years inspired the creation of the chocolate bilby as a native Australian alternative to the Easter bunny.

"Australia is noted internationally for the diversity of our outstanding natural heritage and I would like to invite all Australians to stop and think about what they can do to protect our native flora and fauna," Senator Campbell said.

For more information about the bilby go to www.deh.gov.au

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia