Bilbies make historical return to NSW

By Australian Geographic 5 December 2018
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They’re back.

THE AUSTRALIAN bilby, a much-loved Easter icon, has made a historic return to NSW, after an almost 100-year absence.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy released the bilbies last night into the Pilliga, where a 5,800ha feral predator-free fenced area was constructed earlier this year.

“The establishment of the fenced area will enable six locally extinct mammals to be reintroduced to the Pilliga: bilby, western quoll, western barred bandicoot, brush-tailed bettong, bridled nailtail wallaby and plains mouse,” said the AWC.

The release was a part of a joint project with the New South Wales Government called ‘Saving Our Species’. NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said this was a major victory for the campaign.

“The return of the Bilby is internationally significant; this is a major victory in the campaign to save our species from extinction,” the minister said.

The bilbies were translocated from Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary in far western New South Wales by a team of more than 20 ecologists.

Prior to their release some of the bilbies were fitted with GPS-enabled radio transmitters. “Tonight, these pioneering Bilbies in the Pilliga will continue settling in to their new home, digging burrows, foraging for food and getting to know each other better,” the AWC said.