Hop into action this Easter to save the iconic bilby

Published Thursday, 28 March, 2024 at 03:12 PM

The Honourable Steven Miles

Hop into action this Easter to save the iconic bilby


  • Queenslanders are being urged play their part in protecting the iconic but endangered greater bilby this Easter.
  • Twenty cents from the sale of the Darrell Lea Chocolate Bilby, available at Woolworths, is donated to the Save the Bilby Fund to support research and conservation efforts.
  • The Miles Government is partnering with the Save the Bilby Fund on a new research project aimed at helping the species bounce back.

Queenslanders are once again being urged to support the protection and conservation of an iconic but endangered species when enjoying a chocolate treat this Easter.

Twenty cents from the sale of each Darrell Lea Chocolate Bilby, which are available at Woolworths, is donated to the Save the Bilby Fund to support research and conservation efforts for the greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis).

The greater bilby once ranged over most of mainland Australia. However, introduced predators such as feral cats, red foxes and wild dogs resulted in a significant decline of the species.

Today, the greater bilby is found in several locations in western Queensland, with the largest remaining population in an area west of the Diamantina River, in Astrebla Downs National Park, Diamantina National Park and some pastoral properties.

In 2019, the greater bilby was reintroduced to a 2500-hectare predator-free enclosure on Currawinya National Park near the Queensland-New South Wales border.

The Miles Labor Government, through the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, continues to play its part in protecting the endangered species.

For the past 25 years, DESI has been working in collaboration with the Save the Bilby Fund to recover bilby populations in Queensland. One of the aims of the collaboration is to understand and monitor bilby populations and their predators while protecting their habitat.

It is currently partnering with the Save the Bilby Fund on a new research project that is tracking the state’s endangered bilby population in a bid to help the species bounce back.

The Save the Bilby Fund will collect data on the density of wild bilbies and key threats to their population such as cats, red foxes and wild dogs at several South West Queensland pastoral stations and at Currawinya National Park.

This will be done partly through the use of 105 field cameras set up across QLD.

An artificial intelligence program called ‘eVorta’ is assisting the project by automatically identifying images that have bilbies, and those of the introduced predators, feral cats, red foxes and wild dogs, which are the main threats to bilbies.

The project is partially funded through an almost $150,000 Threatened Species Research Grant from DESI.

A recent survey undertaken by QPWS staff indicates the bilby population in the wild at Astrebla Downs National Park has declined since the boom numbers seen in 2021.

This change is thought to be part of their normal boom-bust cycle in response to changing environmental conditions and the risk of predation to remaining bilbies.

QPWS undertakes pest management control at least four times a year to reduce the impact of feral cat and wild dog predation on bilbies. This can increase to two trips a month if considered necessary.

Quotes attributable to the Premier, Steven Miles:

“I’ve always loved bilbies and their conservation is something I’m passionate about.

“As Environment Minister, I supported the reintroduction of breeding bilby pairs to Currawinya National Park. Now we’re seeing promising preliminary results as the population grows.

“My government is committed to continuing protection efforts for our threatened and endangered species, including the iconic bilby, and we’re investing more than $40 million towards this goal.

Easter is a great time to celebrate these beautiful native creatures and with the famous bilby chocolates on supermarket shelves it’s a good chance to learn more about how to help save the bilby and protect our state’s threatened species.

“The bilby embodies the resilience and uniqueness of our Queensland ecosystem. Saving it isn’t just a choice, it’s our duty to preserve this symbol of our natural heritage.”

Quotes attributable to CEO of Save The Bilby Fund, Kevin Bradley:

“Choose bilbies over bunnies this Easter! We’re a small charity, so we love to encourage everyone to enjoy some chocolate and also to visit our website because we need people’s support all the time to help to save the bilby.

“We’re not prepared to let the species become extinct on our watch.

“We have a very strong conservation partnership with the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation and we’re monitoring the population more than ever before thanks to the extra resources and funding.

“Bilbies are specialists at boom bust cycles- it’s perfectly normal with this species but what we need to be careful of is predator numbers, it’s always a nervous period because we know sooner or later it will dry up and that’s why we’re currently trying to provide the best level of protection by conducting detailed information for our annual survey.”

Quotes attributable to Dreamworld’s Wildlife Supervisor Nicolle Phillips:

“Education is the cornerstone of conservation, and Dreamworld's Bilby Week celebration epitomises our commitment to raising awareness and inspiring action for these beloved native Australian marsupials.

“By engaging visitors in fun and informative activities during Bilby Week, we not only celebrate these iconic creatures but also empower future generations to become stewards of their protection.

“Dreamworld is not only dedicated to bilby conservation during Bilby Week but year-round.

“We are proud to celebrate the first anniversary of the Bilby Discovery Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that immerses visitors in the world of bilbies through interactive elements.

“At Dreamworld, our commitment to bilby conservation goes beyond just one week of celebration; it's a perpetual mission. Through initiatives like the Bilby Discovery Centre and partnerships with Save the Bilby Fund (STBF) and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation (DWF), we strive to foster a deeper connection between people and these remarkable creatures, driving ongoing support for their conservation.”

Fast facts:

  • The bilby is the only Australian animal with an official gazetted day of celebration.
  • The term bilby is from the Yuwaalaraay Aboriginal language of northern New South Wales, meaning long-nosed rat.
  • The bilby species is estimated to be more than 15 million years old
  • They are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water
  • Their diet consists of insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi, and very small animals
  • Their gestation period is about 12–14 days, one of the shortest among mammals


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339