The Easter Bilby

The Easter Bilby!We’ve all heard of the Easter Bunny bringing your kids’ Easter baskets, but are you familiar with the Easter Bilby?

The Bilby is a native Australian marsupial. They are an endangered species, but there have been many conservation efforts in recent decades, with some measure of success. On the other hand, rabbits where only introduced to Australia in the mid-19th Century by European colonists. They thrived in their new home, but unfortunately, it was at the expense of native plants, animals and environment. Rabbits are reknowned for being prolific breeders, but in Australia, with no harsh winter to contend with, they were able to breed all year around. In a remarkably short period of time, they had spread throughout the country, and to this day, they’re considered to be pests that are too numerous to completely control.

In this light, it is perhaps natural that the Easter Bunny wouldn’t be considered to be quite as cute to some Australians as it may be in other parts of the world. In fact, there is even an organisation called The Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia. I guess Peter Cottontail won’t be paying them a visit any time soon!

And so, in the late 1960s, Rose-Marie Dusting wrote a story called Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby. The concept was also picked up by others, and although it never really surpassed the Easter Bunny in popularity, it does bring chocolate eggs to many Aussie children. Some companies even make chocolate Bilbies too, often sharing their profits with foundations trying to save this species.

With organisations devoted to rabbit control, and others dedicated to Bilby conservation, there are always going to be passionate supporters of the Easter Bilby!

Image Credit: Giggy via Wikimedia Commons

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