The Greater Bilby was once found on 70% of Australia’s mainland, but now occupies just 20% of its former range. Scattered populations remain in the wild in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia but bilbies went extinct in South Australia nearly 100 years ago. Bilbies have been reintroduced to a few protected sites across Australia including Arid Recovery.
These beautiful animals are tough desert dwellers and have transformed the arid ecosystems of the Arid Recovery Reserve since they were first reintroduced in 2000. They dig for food and burrows, constantly turning over the soil and facilitating regeneration of native plants.
The Arid Recovery bilby population has fluctuated since the release and the current population is relatively small after two years of drought. After some much needed rain in February now is a good time to bring new genetics into the reserve. We plan to bring new bilbies in from Thistle Island off Port Lincoln, SA.
Transporting these exceptional animals is no small task and takes many hands. A team of Arid Recovery staff and students will work with LandscapesSA staff to catch up to 15 bilbies on Thistle Island, and transport them by light plane and car 530 km north to be released at Arid Recovery.
After the bilbies are released at Arid Recovery, they need to be followed closely to make sure they settle in and to learn as much about them as possible. This will be a great learning opportunity for PhD students who will study how well the genes from new animals integrate into the existing population, and how the new and resident bilbies interact after the release.
We need help to cover the costs of this release and are asking for your support.
- $30 will help cover costs of catching a bilby on Thistle Island
- $80 will fly one bilby from Thistle Island to Port Lincoln
- $200 will buy a tracking device to monitor a bilby after release
All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Anyone gifting over $100 will be invited to choose an ‘island-themed’ name for one of the new bilbies.