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Threatened Species – Bilby, Macrotis lagotis This tag was originally created for the Threatened Species Club but has been traded with others as well.
The Bilby once inhabited 70% of Australia, but is now restricted to about 20% of that range.Its status is described variously as Vulnerable, Endangered or Threatened and its main predators are cats and foxes, who also compete with the Bilby for food.They also suffer from loss of habitat.In the past they were hunted for their skins.
Bilbies are part of the Bandicoot family and are nocturnal animals about the size of a cat or rabbit.They have very long, sensitive ears and a pointed snout. Their long ears are also used to help lose heat! Whilst they are predominantly grey, their underparts are white and they have a white tipped tail.The rest of the tail is generally black.They have both clawed and unclawed toes and are extremely good at digging burrows. Being marsupials they have a pouch where they suckle their yoiung. In my local region, there have been successful programs to breed Bilbies in captivity via the Katarapko Action Group under the leadership of Steve Gibbs.These were initially released on KatarapkoIsland, but relatively few survived.More successful releases have taken place at Banrock Station.I have also seen a successful breeding program in action at Scotia Sanctuary, which is an enormous well fenced wildlife property, where feral animals have been eradicated and where visitors can take guided night-time walks to observe Bilbies, Numbats etc. An interesting way of drawing attention to the plight of the Bilby has been the introduction of chocolate Bilbies at Easter time.Rabbits are considered to be a pest in Australia and it is an innovative idea to replace the traditional Easter Bunny with the Bilby.Each year more and more chocolate Bilbies are being produced and sold and perhaps future generations of Aussie children will come to love the Bilby as much if not more than his historical Easter ancestor. This is the first tag I have created without the assistance of a designer, hence its simplicity compared with some of the other wonderful tags in the Threatened Species Series. I'll admit I did struggle with getting the text to line up, sorry! I have improved my skills since then. I hope you like it and will take the time to find out more about the Bilby!
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