An icon for Australia's endangered species


What are you doing for National Bilby Day? Probably not much if you don't live in Australia. But the Save the Bilby Fund is hoping to use this annual celebration to call attention not just to the bilby, one of Down Under's most endangered mammals, but to all of the country's endangered species.

Until a few years ago, the bilby (a tiny marsupial) didn't have much hope. Introduced species like cats and foxes had eaten their way through bilby populations around the continent, and almost driving the two bilby species extinct. But captive breeding programs and fenced-in, predator-proof habitats have done wonders, and bilby populations are now on the rise.

The species is starting to do well enough that they are being used as ambassadors for Australia's endangered species, making their way to presentations in schools around the country. Students are being urged to enter competitions, raise funds for bilby conservation, and sell merchandize to help spread the word.

Of course, the bilby is one of the cutest creatures to ever walk the face of the planet, so it makes a pretty darn perfect spokescreature for Australia's endangered biodiversity. Would people respond so readily if it were National Dingo Day? Probably not. But if the bilby gets people thinking, we'd be a whacka to complain.

So mark your calendars, folks! The National Bilby Day fun starts on September 4th and runs through the 14th.

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