Published On: Sun, Nov 4th, 2018

Australian marsupial enduring despite rising predator threat

Canberra: The population of the endangered Australian marsupial also known as bilbies has been holding steady despite a rising threat from natural predators, a survey has found.

The species has largely been wiped out by feral cats, foxes, weeds and fire

Rangers across Australia’s deserts involved in the Bilby Blitz programme have spent six months surveying 248 areas of land in the Northern Territory and Western Australia for traces of the greater bilby and its predators.

Richard Moyle, the Central Land Council’s land management officer, confirmed that rangers found evidence of bilby activity in 58 of the areas.

“Everyone loves a bilby, they’re cute, they’re furry so they have that appeal,” Moyle told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Sunday.

The greater bilby is a desert-dwelling marsupial native to Australia that grows to 55 cm in length on average excluding its tail. The lesser bilby was declared extinct in the 1950s.

The species has largely been wiped out by feral cats, foxes, weeds and fire.

Moyle said rangers found evidence of feral cats in 111 of the search areas and foxes in 50 of them.

Bilby Blitz was launched by Threatened Species Commissioner Sally Box in March to connect indigenous rangers with their non-indigenous peers.

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