Bilbies are so much more than just a pretty face.
Today on National Bilby Day, here are a few extra reasons to love these native furry creatures.
They may be small, but the Greater Bilby packs a punch in terms of what it gives back to its environment and how it supports other native animals. They are nationally listed as a vulnerable species, and right now there are only 600-700 of them left on the planet.
Bilbies are eco-engineers. As they dig, they turn the soil, and in the process help to regenerate seeds and restore soil condition, essential work particularly in the driest of regions on our continent. (‘Essential work, but somebody’s got to do it’, did I hear you say?)
Bilbies also provide protection to other endangered native species – in that, their old disused bilby burrows – the bilby burrows left behind after they move to new homes – also provide homes to other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians including the Spinifex Hopping Mouse, the Short-beaked Echidna and the Sand Goanna to name a few. One break in the chain has a ripple effect on the entire ecosystem, certain to have a wider, ongoing impact.
In a year when not much has gone right for our native species in the wake of the appalling bushfires, some good news was recently reported that bilbies have been successfully reintroduced in a predator-proof section of the Mallee Cliffs National Park, NSW.
Go you, bilbies, we are backing you all the way.
Photo: Bruce Thomson, www.auswildlife.com