• The bilby is an Australian icon for Easter (Supplied) (WILD LIFE)Source: WILD LIFE
The bilby is Australia’s Easter mascot and part of Indigenous Australia’s dreamtime heritage. But numbers of this desert-dwelling marsupial are dangerously low.
16 Jun 2015 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 25 Jun 2015 - 5:51 PM

The rabbit-eared and bandicoot-snouted bilby makes a better Easter mascot in Australia than the feral bunny rabbit.

Not only is it a native marsupial, but an important animal to Indigenous Australia as a totem for both freshwater and desert mobs.

"The bilby is very important," says Craig Doudle, an independent animal protector who collaborates with the Save the Bilby Fund.

“The bilby is a part of our creation and also a part of our dream time story.

"He is a totem to some tribes and that totem is now exinct in some of the tribes, so the stories are there but a lot of the tribes ...you know they feel like they've lost an ancestor."

But the bilby is seriously endangered with numbers estimated to be dangerously low.

Australia's Save the Bilby Fund says there are only 600 bilbies in Queensland, and while the national figure has been hard to calculate, Doudle estimates there is only double that figure across the country.

"We really need to get rid of the feral cats and foxes and the only chance it has of surviving will be reintroduction through captive breeding programs."

The Save the Bilby Fund has developed a captive breeding program that encourages breeding in a controlled environment to save the species from extinction.