Today is National Bilby Day and we’re bouncing with excitement to share that an adorable set of Greater Bilby joey twins has been born at Monarto Safari Park.
The three-month-old duo, a male and female, have been snuggled up in pouch of mum, three-year-old Lisa, until last week.
Assistant Curator Tom Hurley said the floppy-eared pair are now out and about exploring the new world around them – just in time for their species’ national day.
“Monarto Safari Park has over 25 years of history in bilby conservation, so it is really special that the joeys are out of the pouch in time for National Bilby Day,” he said.
“They symbolise the hope we have for their species and help our visitors learn more about native wildlife and conservation.
“The Greater Bilby is such a significant species because they are ‘ecosystem engineers’. The loss of their burrowing and digging habits in the wild has flow-on effects such as a reduction in soil quality and the loss of other species.
“So it’s incredibly important for us to not only be part of a breeding program and rewilding efforts, but also to spread the word about bilbies on days like today!”
This is Lisa’s second litter after she gave birth to another set of twins, Lilly Pilly and Fern, at Easter.
The Greater Bilby once inhabited over 70 per cent of the Australian mainland, however populations have been devastated by predators like feral cats and foxes with the species becoming extinct in South Australia by the 1930s.
Today, wild populations are found in the Tanami Desert, the Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert and parts of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions, and the southwest of Queensland.
While their distribution is widespread, numbers are declining and the species is listed by the IUCN Redlist as vulnerable to extinction with less than 9,000 individuals remaining.
Zoos SA’s work with the Greater Bilby National Recovery Team has involved captive breeding, maintenance of the species studbook, supervising research and contributing to recovery efforts.
Our breeding program at Monarto Safari Park has seen over 200 bilbies born with more than 90 released back into the wild as part of vital recovery projects.
We are especially proud of our work in reintroducing Greater Bilbies back to South Australia areas including Thistle Island, Venus Bay, and Roxby Downs after an absence of nearly 70 years.
To help ensure the future of our long-eared marsupial friends, you can adopt a bilby or come along to visit Adelaide Zoo or Monarto Safari Park today. Visitors will receive a Melba’s Chocolates and Confectionery bilby at the gate on arrival.
If you’re hopping in to Adelaide Zoo, don’t miss the chance to take part in our hidden voucher treasure hunt! The gift vouchers will be hidden around the zoo for four lucky visitors to find and redeem in the Zoo Shop for a Melba’s Australian Chocolate Bag.
For more information, visit adelaidezoo.com.au or monartosafari.com.au.